ACTION ALERT: Tell your state representative to support HF 394

This week, the Iowa House of Representatives will be presented with a proposed framework for regulating services like Uber.

Make your voice heard! Tell your state representative that you support HF 394, which is a sensible approach to ridesharing regulation in order to create a permanent home for Uber in Iowa.

You can find out how to reach you state representative by clicking here.

UberX offers a level of reliability and safety that other transportation options cannot match. At the same time, driver-partners on the Uber platform have a new, flexible economic opportunity to supplement their income and make a better living on their own time.

Cities around the world are embracing the benefits that ridesharing brings to communities: access for underserved neighborhoods, reduction in drunk driving and improvement in traffic congestion. Now, Iowa has a chance to permanently reap these benefits, while also making a firm commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship.

This a critical issue! We need to support HF 394 to enact statewide regulations that support ridesharing.

Rep. Peter Cownie on Uber

Cownie: Statehouse takes up Uber issue

Rep. Peter Cownie, House District 42 – March 5, 2015

I represent District 42 in the Iowa House of Representatives, which includes the majority of West Des Moines in Polk County, as well as a northern portion of Warren County. Mine is generally an urban/suburban district. And an issue has come up at the Legislature regarding transportation network services that I feel will be helpful for the residents of my district, as well as many other urban/suburban parts of Iowa, too.

Uber offers ride-sharing services via an app on a mobile device. Customers can request a ride from a driver registered through the company with all billing done via a credit card through the app.

Read the full op-ed here

New study on Uber drivers

Uber just published a study that takes a close look into the economics and demographics of its drivers. Uber is clearly having a positive economic impact on cities and states that adopt smart, modern regulations for the ridesharing industry.

You can read the study by clicking here.

Here are some news articles reporting on the study that are worth reading:

Uber reduces drunk driving

When I head to the bar with my friends, we all use Uber. It’s more responsible than driving drunk and a hell of a lot cheaper than getting a DUI. It’s simply the smart thing to do.

Are you headed to a New Year’s Eve party tonight and plan on drinking? Then you should plan on using Uber for your transportation.

The benefits are obvious. In fact, Uber has found that DUI rates are declining in Uber cities. You can read about their studies here.

Then, sometime this week, contact your city council members and share with them your experience and let them know that Uber saves lives.

Democrats and Republicans support Uber

Did you know Uber has bipartisan support? Democrats and Republicans alike support the expansion of Uber in cities across the country.

David Plouffe, President Obama’s campaign manager in 2008, serves as one of Uber’s top ambassadors. He actively works to help cities better understand how Uber operates so it can expand its presence.

John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who serves as Governor of Colorado, is also a strong supporter of Uber. He recently said, “In Colorado, we embrace innovation and disruptive technology. We push to be in the vanguard. Colorado has led the way on innovative transportation options like Uber.”

These are only a couple examples of prominent Democrats speaking in support of Uber.

Earlier this year the Republican National Committee set up an online petition in support of Uber. The petition said, “Our country was built on the entrepreneurial spirit. Our cities deserve innovative and effective solutions without government getting in the way. That’s what innovative businesses like Uber provide. And that’s why our cities need Uber.”

The Iowa chapter of Americans for Prosperity is also an outspoken supporter of Uber and ridesharing businesses. AFP is a prominent conservative organization whose mission is to “advocate for public policies that champion the principles of entrepreneurship and fiscal and regulatory restraint.”

Simply put, Uber crosses party lines and we have an opportunity to build a bipartisan coalition that can help educate city officials in Des Moines.

We need to take action. Join our coalition by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter. Then, contact your city council members and tell them why Des Moines needs Uber.

Update: Des Moines City Council delays vote on Uber ordinance

December 8, 2014

The Des Moines City Council decided to postpone the vote on a new ordinance regulating rideshare companies. You can read news reports about the decision below.

The Des Moines Register: Uber rules delayed until 2015

New rules aimed at regulating Uber, an app-based ridesharing service, will have to wait until early next year, Des Moines officials decided Monday morning.

The City Council was expected to take action on the issue later this month, but members opted to postpone the vote until January to give city staff more time to research the topic and hash out a new “transportation network vehicle” ordinance.

Read the full article here

WHO TV: City Council delays action on Uber ordinance

The Des Moines City Council will delay action on a new transportation ordinance.  The city statutes are under review due to a new service called Uber which delivers rides to customers via  a smart phone app.

City of Des Moines Traffic Engineer, Jennifer McCoy, presented a proposed new city ordinance to allow for Transportation Company Network operations in  Des Moines.   The transportation company network are new firms which dispatch on a digital platform. The new ordinance was to be taken up December 22.  City Manager Scott Sanders said he will most likely schedule a workshop to discuss the ordinance after the holidays. once lawyers gone over it. Then the ordinance can go before a formal council meeting.

Read the full article here

Associated Press: Des Moines officials postpone plans for Uber rules

Des Moines officials have postponed plans for a new city ordinance aimed at regulating the ridesharing service Uber.

The City Council on Monday pushed back a vote to January that would spell out how Uber should conduct business in Des Moines. Council members said they wanted more time to research the issue.

Read the full article here

The Des Moines Register defends Uber

City’s proposed Uber ordinance goes too far
The Register’s Editorial — December 3, 2014

Instead of hailing a taxicab, people in more than 200 cities now use their smart phones and Uber. The California-based company connects passengers with drivers who use their own vehicles. Customers use a credit card to create an account and turn to an app on their phones when they need a ride. Uber pinpoints their location and sends a message when the car is ready. Billing is automated.

The service is growing in popularity because customers like the convenience. Customers like not having to dig for money to pay their fare. They like knowing how close their car is.

Uber wants to succeed in Des Moines as it has elsewhere. But for that to happen, the Des Moines City Council should make changes to a proposed ordinance now being considered. If the council approves the ordinance as drafted, Uber likely will not continue to operate here, and that would be unfortunate.

Read the full editorial here

City should not stand in Uber’s way
Rekha Basu — September 19, 2014

It used to be Des Moines couldn’t make space for coffee. At least not a physical space, where people could gather to savor the aroma of freshly roasted beans and choose their origins. Investors wouldn’t back a plan for an independent coffee house in the early 1990s. If people want coffee, was the message, they’ll swill it at home.

At one time, it was an idea for a public outdoor gathering space downtown. The first reaction from city leaders was a cold shoulder. The plan was to fill a plaza with vendors, artisans and performers, along with young and old, rich and poor spectators. Then, the hang-up was that downtown was too scary and inconvenient for some people to get to. For art we had museums, for performances we had a civic center, and people already had their own social groupings, thank you. At least that was how the response came across.

Read the full column here

Des Moines should welcome entrepreneurship, not stifle it

December 2, 2014

Americans for Prosperity Responds to Proposed Rideshare Regulations

DES MOINES – The Iowa chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the state’s foremost grassroots advocate for policies that promote entrepreneurship and consumer choice, today responded to the Des Moines city council’s proposed rideshare regulations. The rules have been called the most draconian in the nation and would hamper job creation and restrict options for consumers in the city.

“Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are creating jobs and expanding consumer choice across the nation,” explained Drew Klein, AFP’s Iowa State Director. “Des Moines should welcome these entrepreneurial ventures and the new jobs they will bring to the area. Consumers, not busybody bureaucrats and politicians, should decide whether rideshare is the best option for them. In hundreds of other towns, they’ve already spoken and decided that rideshare provides an affordable, efficient, and safe means of transportation. It’s time for Des Moines to stop wasting time and focus on real concerns.”

For further information or an interview, please contact Drew Klein at DKlein@afphq.org or 641-521-8668.

We need to stand with Uber

Ever since Uber entered Des Moines it has been under attack. City officials are looking to pass an ordinance that will stop uberX and similar ridesharing services from operating in Des Moines. These decision makers reject innovation and are more interested in limiting the transportation options consumers have in Des Moines.

This is not a partisan issue. It is an Iowa issue. We need to educate these decision makers about what Uber means to us. We need to show them the benefits of having new and innovative transportation options in Des Moines.

It’s time for us to fight back!

If you want Uber to operate in Des Moines, then get on the phone and call the Mayor and City Council members and tell them to change the proposed regulations on ridesharing services. This is the single most important thing you can do. You can find their contact info by clicking here.

If you don’t want to call, send them an email. Share your opinion on Facebook and Twitter. And submit a letter to the editor of the Des Moines Register.

If we can’t make the Des Moines City Council see the light, then we will make them feel the heat.