Newark mayor wants Uber to ‘pay their fair share’
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka insists the city isn't trying to "get rid of Uber" in Newark, he just wants the company to pay the same fees and meet the same requirements as other companies and vendors.
The mayor released his statement on YouTube Thursday hours after New Jersey 101.5 morning host Bill Spadea and afternoon hosts Dennis and Judi urged their listeners to call the mayor's office in support of the ride-sharing app company.
This morning, Spadea spoke on the air with Uber general manager Ana Mahoney who said that “since the beginning, Mayor Baraka has been against Uber."
During Spadea's show, Mahoney also pointed to the decrease of unemployment rates in Newark and the fact that Uber provides jobs to city residents.
“They want to have Uber drivers pay $500 dollars for picking up at Newark Penn Station and $1,000 dollars for picking up at the airport. We are talking five times more than a cab driver. They need to create a level playing field,” Mahony said.
In his statement Thursday afternoon, Baraka said all the city wants is for Uber to follow in the footsteps of other companies that have agreed to the fees and regulations.
"All we’re asking Uber to do is to pay their fair share. We’re asking Uber to do what Airbnb did," Baraka said. "Uber not only doesn’t wanna pay their fair share, but they refused to get fingerprinted. They refused background checks. They refused any kind of regulation whatsoever. Even though they’re regulated in many cities across America, they believe that they should not be regulated here in Newark. That is completely unfair."
The mayor said every business in Newark, from larger corporations to street vendors "selling hats and socks," pays permit and license fees. The funds go into the city's coffers, Baraka said, and are used to pay the salaries of police and firefighters, repair roads and help fund school programs for children.
“Uber should want to be part of that, to help Newark grow," the mayor said.
The mayor also took shots at Uber for its willingness to pay millions of dollars on a campaign against fair regulation of its operations in the city, while refusing to pay for permits and fees.
“They obviously have enough money… to pay consultants to attack city government here in the city of Newark," Baraka said. “The reality is, we’re not banning Uber. We want Uber to be here in our city. We enjoy their services… but we cannot allow our personal convenience, given the opportunity, to run afoul of the policies in the city, the laws in the city and to not pay their fair share like any other corporation.”
Baraka also said that while there, are several Uber drivers in Newark, there are also many taxi drivers and it would be "insane" to "put one group of residents out of work to support another group."
He insists that the city will continue pushing for Uber to pay the fees and meet Newark's regulations.
“We won’t stop until Uber pays their fair share," Baraka said. "We won’t stop until Uber is regulated.”
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.