Mayor Bill de Blasio is waging a war against Uber, working overtime to pass legislation that would dramatically limit the ability of ride-sharing companies to operate in New York City. He justifies this crackdown as a way to “keep people safe,” but it in reality, de Blasio’s anti-free market Uber policy would do the exact opposite.
Uber is the best thing to happen to women since the invention of birth control. It allows us to leave when we want without relying on a man to get us home. To understand how empowering this notion is, de Blasio might consider walking in our red stilettos one Saturday night.
Of course, not every woman needs an app to escape a bad date, but Uber provides a safety net for those that do. With Uber, women don’t need a permission slip to leave the dinner table. We don’t need to stay for “one more drink,” and we certainly don’t need to deal with the anxiety of hailing for a cab that might never come. No. With Uber, we just click a button, and our car arrives.
Politicians should welcome this creative service that enables women to be more safe and self-reliant—not stand in its way.
Uber Is Way Safer Than City Streets
In a New York Daily News op-ed explaining his stance against Uber, de Blasio cited “protecting riders” as one of his top concerns.
“Uber shouldn’t get immunity if one of its drivers attacks or injures a customer,” he wrote.
With all due respect, Mr. Mayor, let’s get one thing straight. Women ordering Uber are far less concerned about their drivers attacking them than they are of being attacked by the criminals trolling your city’s streets.
When I first moved to New York City in 2011, Uber was still an infant. Back then, I didn’t read crime reports, and appreciated the car service more for its role in saving me from mistakes involving men. Four years later, now living in Washington DC, I appreciate Uber for a different reason.
Just this month, my neighborhood experienced three murders in the span of two weeks. The attacks were part of a larger crime wave that has residents like me, who live alone and walk to and from work, on edge. It’s nearly impossible for me to carry a gun (DC has some of the strictest gun laws in the country), and when I went to purchase pepper spray, I discovered that, too, is illegal to ship in the District.
Luckily, I still have Uber. And until taxicabs can arrive on-demand, right outside my doorstep, they’ll never provide that same protection.
Women Can Make Their Own Decisions, Thanks
De Blasio, who attacks Uber while collecting big-dollar political donations from the taxi industry, claims his policy will also “protect” us from unfair costs.
“Riders deserve honest rates and security against surge-pricing schemes that look an awful lot like price-gouging,” he wrote. Mr. Mayor. Women don’t need politicians telling us whether Uber’s “surge prices” are worth our money. We’re plenty capable of making financial decisions on our own.
If (or when) Uber’s prices do get out of control, the great thing about a free market is that another ride-sharing company can step in. Uber works by being affordable, and “price-gouging” its customers will eventually prove unsustainable.
What out-of-touch politicians like De Blasio most importantly need to realize is that in some situations, a safe ride home is worth any amount of “surge.” Taking that away, he might find, could cost women in New York a whole lot more. It’ll just be more difficult to see.