We have a guest column this evening from an “Uber cool” friend of the SDWC – Sioux Falls City Councilor Christine Erickson!
Christine was kind enough to take the time to give us some background on the recent decision of the City Council to approve ordinances to allow companies such as UBER to start doing business in our state’s largest city
She’s out of town in another state tonight – and had the opportunity to use UBER for herself for the first time. She reported it was “Super easy and convenient”- PP
Opening doors for opportunity and consumer choice
Christine Erickson, Sioux Falls City Council
In South Dakota, we recognize the importance of a free marketplace that rewards hard work, creates jobs and opportunities and incentivizes innovation in all industries. Due this enviable business climate, businesses large and small can flourish without penalty from government.
In November, the Sioux Falls City Council approved reforms to the existing Vehicle for Hire Ordinance allowing Transportation Networking Companies (TNCs) to operate on city streets. A TNC, such as Uber or Lyft, utilize an innovative business model that uses a software application, which is typically a smart phone app, to connect passengers to a TNC driver. This driver uses his or her personal vehicle, and drives whenever he or she would like to make extra money. More than 150 cities in the U.S. have either Lyft, Uber or both. In our region, this includes the cities of Ames, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Fargo, Lincoln, Madison, WI, Minneapolis, Omaha and St. Paul.
Opponents to the reform measure argued that Uber, Lyft and/or other TNCs have an unfair advantage, and would drive local taxicabs and others out of business. As a small business owner, I understand the sacrifice, long hours and financial risk that goes into running a business. I also recognize that businesses must continually innovate and adapt to the needs of consumers in order to successfully compete against competition.
I am reminded by a recent talk with my three boys, who saw their first phone booth. I found myself having my first, ‘when I was a kid’ conversation about the not so distant past with no cellphones. Today, cellular phones have removed the vast majority of phone booths, and reduced the number of landlines in the U.S. According to the CDC’s biannual National Health Interview Survey of 20,000 households, more than 90 percent of households had a landline phone in 2004. This number is now less than 60 percent in just ten years.
A free marketplace does not limit innovation and consumer choice to specific industries. The vehicle for hire reform measures embraces these free market principals, and challenges existing vehicle for hire businesses to innovate and compete for passengers. In South Dakota, we celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation. We recognize that government is not intended to protect outdated business models, but instead limit regulatory and tax obstacles that stifle a thriving free market.