Final Free Uber hearing – Portsmouth (12/21/15)

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Today I attended what will be the final hearing regarding Uber and ride sharing before the Portsmouth city council.

The city of Portsmouth, NH passed an ordinance regulating ride sharing, adding additional restrictions that made Uber illegal in the city. The Free Uber campaign was launched, and various activists from around the state converged on Portsmouth to spread the word about the ordinance, support drivers, and pressure the city council to repeal the regulations.

Previously, the city council had voted twice to delay voting on a measure to modify or repeal the current ordinance banning Uber. This was the final hearing on the ordinance for the current council, as next year’s council will be largely composed of new members. Since it was a public hearing, many testified on both sides of the issue. Notably, many locals testified in favor of Uber this time (as opposed to other times, where it was mostly interested parties), as well as both a driver from Maine and an attorney representing Uber. Through much confused deliberation, the council finally decided on the same conclusion as before, that is, to kick the can further down the road and let the next council deal with the problem.

I concluded my testimony with the following:

“What I want to address in terms of this ordinance, is the legacy that this council sets. Regardless of your ordinances, Uber is not going anywhere. Would you want your legacy to be that you stood in the way of the inevitable march of progress? Or would you want to solidify your legacy as forward thinking and taking New Hampshire into the 21st century.”

Below is the entirety of the city council meeting. My testimony begins at 1:44:33