Dear Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville welcome Uber…why can’t we?
Huntsville has also declared itself open for business to transportation network companies (TNC) by passing recent changes to its rules.
Montgomery doesn’t appear to be far behind.
And then there’s Birmingham.
The city with an average per capita income of less than $20,000 and more than 30 percent of its residents in poverty simply can’t get out of its own way.
There are plenty of good things happening in Birmingham. We’re making inroads in the food scene. We have a really great minor league baseball stadium and several nice parks. Medical researchers and hipsters navigate the same community with ease.
Wait…it’s that last part that isn’t entirely accurate.
We’ve known for a while we need better transportation options. TNCs like Uber and Lyft meet a clear demand in Birmingham without imposing drastic infrastructure costs on the city.
If we want to bring the magic back to the Magic City, we need to think about what’s holding us back. Want to partake in Birmingham’s growing craft beer industry? How about a baseball game at Regions Field? Or even something as simple as a nice date night out for dinner at Birmingham’s Uptown Entertainment District? The obvious challenge is moving people conveniently and safely around the city and back home.
Transportation improvements are a huge part of enabling cities across the Birmingham metro area to connect.
Birmingham’s City Council blames Uber for not being able to reach a deal, but Uber doesn’t seem to have similar problems elsewhere in the state. The bigger point is that companies like Lyft and Uber don’t need Birmingham nearly as much as the city needs them.
If the mayor and City Council can’t show a better ability to work with market innovators in Birmingham, we’ll be left in the dust of our neighboring Alabama cities with a better eye to the future.