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UBER: disrupting urban transport, one city at the time

Uber has come under fire for disrupting an industry that had remained unchanged for decades. This presentation reviews some of the policy hurdles faced by the company and their policy strategy.

Marta Costas

on 12 February 2016

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Transcript of UBER: disrupting urban transport, one city at the time

Denver, CO
Boston, MA
Milan, Italy
Incumbent taxi companies led protests against Uber during a Wired Innovation Conference celebrated in Milan in May 2013. The demonstrations ended without consequences and Uber addressed the incident in its public blog.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is reviewing proposals to introduce a 15 minute waiting time before car hires can be booked through an app. These changes would hit Uber's business in Paris, as well as competitors like Snap Car and Club Chauffeur.
Paris, France
Uber first launched in London ahead of the Olympics of 2012. With digital services like Hailo already operating in the city, the regulatory opposition may be less daunting - but competition is fierce
Taxi and Limo Commission (TLC) forced UberX out of New York, preventing drivers from signing to the service. This has been the biggest regulatory pushback faced by Uber to date.
London, UK
Sortly after the launch of
Uber in Stockholm, the Transportation Agency started to refuse exemptions for Uber drivers to operate without a meter. Drivers were regularly stopped and fined, amid uncertainty over application of existing chauffeur rules.
Stockholm, Sweden
Europe: a market ripe for disruption
Massachusetts rejects the use of GPS technology to measure charges, forcing Uber out of Boston - then reverts its decision amid crippling public criticism.
New York, NY
The City Council tried to impose minimum fares for Uber rides and a requirement to integrate digital payments with local payment service providers, an impractical solution for any global software company. Over 9,000 signatures later, the debate remains unresolved.
Washington DC
Chicago, IL
In Chicago, Uber faced both a regulatory threat and a lawsuit from local taxi companies.
Over 5,000 people signed a petition to reject the regulatory proposals that would drive Uber and competitors out of the city.
Colorado's PUC proposed regulatory changes that threatened Uber's business model in Denver. Nearly 3,000 people signed a petition on change.org and the recommendations were ultimately rejected.
US: Innovation drives regulatory reforms
San Francisco, CA
California's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the first ridesharing rules in September 2013.
Whilst the recognition of these services creates a positive precedent, the rules (which require companies to conduct background checks and purchase licenses for drivers) are too stringent for software companies.
Uber's public exposure in the US attracted the attention of high level policy leaders such as the Federal Trade Commission. With political support from federal policymakers (rather than local old boy networks), Uber successfully repelled some regulatory threats. Whilst this creates a positive precedent, the highly fragmented and protective European market presents a new challenge to Uber's growth.
Uber is quickly disrupting an industry that has been unchanged for decades, introducing competition in a sector where prices and supply are artificially set. Incumbents have reacted defensively to the changes, pressing for regulatory reforms that would drive Uber and other competitors out of business.
Uber's wheel of influence
A savvy external communicator, Uber relies on consumer support to push back on incumbent's efforts to maintain innovation at bay. With unprecedented levels of transparency and user engagement, Uber launched dozens of petitions on change.org that have been signed by thousands. Consumers have also taken to Twitter and private blogs to voice their concerns.
Leveraging communities to influence policy change
Technology firms are turning to consumers to help them shape policy. This presentation illustrates how Uber, a fast-growth technology startup, is disrupting the transport industry with the help of its users.
Lobbying 2.0:
Full transcript