Uber stoking support in Birmingham with new in-app “future view”

Photo Credit: AP File Photo

The ride-hailing app Uber has gotten creative in its months-long push to open up shop in Birmingham.

Starting Friday, when you open up the app in the Magic City, instead of a car-less road map symbolizing the lack of progress in the City Council users will see a view of the future as supporters see it, in which Ubers are zipping up and down Second Avenue North.

You’ll also get a little background on the firm’s regulatory battle with city officials and an option to help out the cause.

“Make Uber a reality in B’ham!” a new dialogue in the app implores Birmingham. “This is how easy getting a safe ride could be if City Council pass draft regulations proposed at the meeting on Nov. 17 Committee of the Whole meeting.

“Email City Council, urge them to PASS these smart ridesharing regulations this Tuesday,” reads the appeal, along with an option email your councilor.

Earlier City Council meetings scheduled to take up the pro-ridesharing rules didn’t exactly live up to expectations.

Five councilors failed to show up for a meeting in November, where Uber’s favored ordinance was on the docket.

Council President Johnathan Austin, Councilman Steven Hoyt, Councilwoman Sheila Tyson, Councilwoman Lashunda Scales and Councilman Marcus Lundy did not attend the meeting, requiring members to adjourn for lack of a quorum.

“There was no quorum. There was no consideration. There was no class,” said one AL.com editorial. “It’s all about petty politics, about fights over contractors and lobbyists.”

Austin ascribed the absences to the meeting’s close proximity to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Either way, Uber state General Manager Tom Maguire said Friday he is hopeful Tuesday’s meeting will be more productive.

“Since August, Birmingham City Council has been working to revise regulations so that Uber can operate in the Magic City, and there’s no reason to delay any further,” said Maguire.

“With this app view, Birmingham residents and visitors can see for themselves how easy it could be to get a ride in Birmingham, and what reality could look like in just a few weeks if the City Council passes the draft regulations from the November 17 Committee of the Whole meeting,” Maguire said.

See below for screenshots of the new appeal:


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