The Uber dilemma

Published 6:00 am Sunday, July 3, 2016

Uber has been trying to get back into Oxford since 2014 when new city taxi restrictions bumped the company out.

For two years the phrase, “When does Uber come to Oxford?” has been an active search in Google, as students and others riders have sought the taxi alternative.

Well, no more searching. As of July 1 at 4 p.m. Uber is back in Oxford.

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The app-based taxi service discovered that the road into Oxford led through Jackson, as the company got state legislators to create a “transportation network companies” law that overrides local taxi locals.

Oxford city leaders, including Mayor Pat Patterson and Ward II Alderman Robyn Tannehill, have made it clear they are all for Uber coming to town, but would prefer the company be forced to adhere to the city’s taxi code, designed to protect riders with more safety requirements.

These city leaders are right. It isn’t fair that taxi drivers face one set of stringent standards while another public transportation company faces no real restrictions at all simply because it is a hip, app-based alternative with good lobbying power.

But that’s how it happened, and Uber is here, and likely in a big way.

For many this is a major victory since Uber is wildly popular among users.

The challenge for city leaders will be analyzing over time and deciding if taxi restrictions need to be eased so drivers can more easily compete with Uber.

But at this point all we can say is welcome back to Oxford, Uber.