Uber, a rideshare company that can count Ashton Kutcher and WME co-CEO Ari Emanuel among investors, is trying to rally users to fight two new California senate bills, which threaten to “stymie innovation and competition” in the public transportation industry.
The 4-year-old transportation startup, which recently raised $1.2 billion on a $17 billion valuation, is asking supporters to tweet and email senators on the California Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee to ask them to vote “no” on Assembly Bills 612 and 2293 on Tuesday.
Uber Technologies calls AB 612 — an act which would require “transportation network company” drivers (including Lyft, Sidecar and any other ride-share service) to acquire a permit to operate, as well as submit to criminal background checks, mandatory fingerprinting, and drug tests — “a flagrant attempt to stymie innovation and competition by an antiquated industry.”
“It is an obvious play by the taxicab industry to kill competition and limit consumer choice,” the company wrote in a blog post railing against the proposed legislation. ” Other states, like Colorado, have found legislative solutions that help advance technologies like Uber and protect consumers and drivers. But supporters of AB 612 would altogether ignore the vibrant new ridesharing ecosystem and try to make it impossible for companies like Uber to operate.”
AB 2293 would require rideshare companies to acquire a commercial liability insurance policy to cover drivers and their vehicles, instead of relying on individual insurance policies.
Uber calls the bill “a back-room deal by insurance companies and trial attorneys to prematurely force the ridesharing industry to fit their special interests.”
“The bill allows insurance companies to escape their liability for services they’ve already charged ratepayers, and helps trial attorneys work the system to ensure they get the largest payouts possible,” Uber wrote on its blog. “The bill does nothing to enhance safety, yet compromises the transportation choices and entrepreneurial opportunities Uber offers Californians.”
Uber maintains a better legislative solution that provides “sensible regulations,” while supporting both riders and drivers is possible.
As part of its effort to dissuade senators from passing the bills, the company is asking supporters to take to Twitter to proclaim #CALovesUber. Several Hollywood supporters already have: