Let’s talk about Uber. The city of Oxford did its best to prevent Uber from coming to town a few years ago but was overridden by the state legislature. Now Uber is in its third year in Oxford. It’s convenient, it’s on your phone and thousands of people use it. But now we have a problem. The problem is how the university and the city of Oxford are treating visitors to our city that elect to use Uber. I drive an Uber sometimes, and I did so this weekend for the first home game. As I tried to drop off passengers, I saw designated zones only for the loading and unloading of licensed city of Oxford taxis. Those areas are safe and out of the way of traffic. If you try to use the taxi zones, a security guard is going to confront you. I’ve seen armed security guards force passengers back into cars at the intersection of Sorority Row and Jackson Avenue. But that’s not really the problem. The problem is that the university is actively seeking out places where Uber drivers are pulling over to let their passengers out safely and without disrupting traffic, and it is putting security guards at those places to prevent Uber drivers from stopping. The result is that Uber drivers are forced by the university to find less-safe places to unload passengers. The university doesn’t have to accommodate Uber passengers or drivers. Ignoring them and the thousands of trips in Oxford they use is just ineffectual leadership. But making it more dangerous for visitors in Oxford to use Uber is bad leadership. The city council and the university do not have to embrace Uber, but they should not be making it more dangerous to use. And right now, that is what they are doing.
Class of 2013