Uber, the oft-discussed, but little understood ride-share company has been in the news a lot lately. Mostly because New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio recently tried to push a proposed cap limiting the growth of ride-share companies. Why would a politician try to stop an enterprising company that his constituents (and staff) seem to love? Politics as usual. Yellow cab companies have been some of the largest donors to DeBlasio. Fortunately, DeBlasio backed off of his proposed cap after cooler heads prevailed.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Hudson, Uber recently announced the opening of a NJ Driver-Partner support center in Hoboken on Washington Street, with Mayor Dawn Zimmer and other elected officials attending the ribbon cutting. A company press release notes “The Partner Support Center, located at 74-76 Washington Street, will serve as a valuable resource for NJ driver-partners. The Partner Support Center is committed to improving the overall Uber experience, serving as a one-stop-shop for any driver-partner issues or questions that arise with the application.”
A larger Uber presence is great news for Hoboken residents. Uber isn’t infallible, but it allows Hoboken residents to freely move to and from their locations without haggling with a yellow cab driver. And it provides all of this is convenience without the exchange of any cash money.
We recently reached out to Uber to understand where it stands in the Hoboken legislative landscape. Alix Anfang, senior communications associate at Uber, was kind enough to answer our questions:
Q: What is the current status of Uber in Hoboken? Are cars able to freely pick up passengers, or does ticketing still occur?
A: UberX ridesharing driver-partners are able to make pick-ups and drop-offs in Hoboken, but they sometimes receive tickets from Hoboken PD or Parking Utility for allegedly violating the Hoboken municipal code’s taxi or limousine sections. Ridesharing is a new and innovative transportation option that does not fall under the traditional taxi or limo definitions, so we are currently working to create a separate regulatory structure for ridesharing throughout the state through the state legislature. This new structure will regulate Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) statewide.
Q: How important is Hoboken ridership to Uber?
A: Hoboken is one of our major NJ markets. We’ll be announcing ridership numbers at our opening event on Tuesday.
Q: What legislation/policy would you like to see the city of Hoboken take to make the city fair for Uber or other enterprising tech/rideshare companies?
A: Uber and other ridesharing companies prosper when cities enact smart regulations that include safety requirements and also acknowledge the new technology that is the basis for ridesharing and at the heart of Uber’s business model. We have had the most successful experiences with ridesharing when there is state-level regulatory structure and we look forward to working with the New Jersey legislature to find a permanent home for job-creating technologies such as ridesharing in the State. With that said, we welcome local regulation in Hoboken that reflects those statewide models. We believe Hoboken’s citizens deserve access to safe, reliable and affordable rides. We believe that the jobs Uber has already created in Hoboken should be made permanent – and we believe that further investment will lead to increased job opportunities for more of Hoboken’s residents.
It’s great to see our elected officials embracing enterprising companies. Good job to our Mayor and City Council members.