Email Insights: What just one year of Uber could do for the Magic City


Another week and the Magic City still doesn’t have Uber.

Over two and a half months ago Uber executives travelled to the Birmingham to meet with the city’s Committee of the Whole to discuss the potential for ridesharing companies to operate in the city. Despite promising discussions, the city has done very little to move the ball forward.

Instead, the Birmingham City Council focused on drafting an overhaul the city’s transportation code.

“This is a complete rewrite to all sections of the code, including the horse-drawn carriage section, and we need to hear from as many stakeholders as possible,” Councilor Kim Rafferty said. “This input will ensure that we have addressed or properly regulated all forms of motorized vehicle, pedicab, and horse transportation in the City of Birmingham, without compromising the regulatory integrity of other jurisdictions in which these companies and services may work in.”

The council took public comments on the proposed changes through Friday, and now Magic City residents will wait for a special called meeting at 5 p.m. Nov. 17 at city hall to hear more about the comments and code updates.

Meanwhile Uber is still making a public case as to how it will help improve life in the Magic City while simultaneously doing everything they can to alleviate any fears Birmingham officials may have, including publishing in in-depth look at the impact of just one year of Uber in the city would look like.

For a look at what just one year of Uber could do for the Magic City, check out the email below:

As the largest metro area in Alabama, Birmingham has a lot to offer residents and visitors. Beyond being the cultural and entertainment capital of the state, downtown Birmingham has great restaurants, shops, and dozens of apartment buildings under construction. It’s also seen job growth over the past five years and is ranked high for millennial entrepreneurs.

But the greater metro area lacks transportation options to support downtown Birmingham’s resurgence, and 24 percent of Jefferson County residents are still underemployed. Ridesharing can help bridge such gaps. Options like Uber will offer safe, reliable rides in the community while simultaneously providing residents with an opportunity to make supplemental income.

Using similar Uber cities as a comparison, we looked into the potential impact that Uber could have in Birmingham after just one year of operating uberX – our ridesharing product – under a sensible set of regulations that reflect the business model. Take a look at the projections to see just what Uber could do for Birmingham when it comes to moving people, offering economic opportunity and making our communities safer.

Providing a Safe, Reliable, and Affordable Transportation Option

Tens of thousands of people in Birmingham – and in the surrounding suburbs – have opened up the Uber app looking for a safe ride. It’s clear there is great demand for more transportation options throughout the greater Birmingham area so that people can safely travel to their destinations. We project that Birmingham residents and visitors will complete more than 116,000 trips in our first year of operating in the city.


Having an Impact on the Local Economy

Uber will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the Birmingham economy. Local drivers will have the opportunity to use Uber and turn on their ability to work and make supplemental income at their leisure. If Uber is able to operate our ridesharing product, uberX, we predict that more than 670 greater Birmingham area residents will be partnering with Uber in just the first year of operations.


These driver-partners will have the potential to earn a combined $1,500,000 in net fares in the first year, with room to grow in future years.


Making Birmingham a Better, Safer Place to Live

Whether it’s your average Friday night or day of a big event like Magic City Classic or Sloss Fest, the increased availability of a reliable, affordable late night transportation option will provide a dependable alternative to driving under the influence in Birmingham. According to MADD, in the past year in Alabama, there were 260 drunk driving fatalities (.08 BAC or higher), representing 30.5 percent of all total traffic deaths, a 8.3 percent increase from the previous year.

In Baton Rouge, a city similar to the size of Birmingham, DUI arrests are down nearly 18 percent in a year since Uber entered market. As the graph below shows, we expect to see demand peak at the same time alcohol related crash fatalities are at their highest — right around “last call” during late nights. This means Uber has the potential to save lives in the Magic City since people are expected to request a safe, reliable ride with Uber at times when they may have otherwise gotten behind the wheel.


Despite being able to have such an impact in the Magic City, the public proposals thus far are unworkable and don’t reflect the ridesharing business model. For Uber to come to Birmingham, city officials need to pass pro-innovation regulations that will enable residents and visitors to use the Uber they’ve experienced and enjoyed in cities around the world. More than 60 other U.S. jurisdictions have been able to accomplish this goal and we’re confident Birmingham can do the same.


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