Free Uber hearing rally II – Portsmouth (12/7/15)

wpid-wp-1449619146961.jpg

I attended a rally supporting the legalization of Uber in Portsmouth, NH, attending a city council hearing on changing an ordinance that would relax restrictions on ride sharing services, and delivered testimony before the city council.

Uber, previously operating in New Hampshire across several cities, ran into a snag in Portsmouth when the city council, under constant pressure from local taxi companies, passed an ordinance on ride sharing. The ordinance instituted specific insurance and background check requirements, effectively making Uber illegal. Since then, the Free Uber campaign has raised public awareness about the cause, put pressure on the offending city council members and cab companies, and continued to give Uber rides in direct defiance of the ordinance. This has led to several citations being issued to defiant Uber drivers, most notably to Stephanie Franz, who has received four different citations and is intent on bringing her case to trial, and Free Uber founder Christopher David, who was arrested under felony wiretapping charges for filming a heckling bouncer during a ride.

wpid-wp-1449619179417.jpg

The Portsmouth city council had previously met to discuss modifications to the ride sharing ordinance requested by Uber. The council elected to kick the can down the road to a later date (today). This time, the council received many more public comments, especially from the pro-Uber camp, as well as much more media attention. My testimony focused on the cab companies that had been instrumental in pushing for Uber to be banned in the first place, pointing out how they have repeatedly employed bullying and harassment of drivers and their supporters. The council once again voted to delay the issue while they studied it further.

My testimony can be seen in the below video at 1:09:53. The breakdown of all Uber supporters’ testimonies is as follows:

Stephanie – 1:03:35
Harrison – 1:05:33
Christopher – 1:07:28
Joël – 1:09:53
Barry – 1:12:10