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Newark’s City Council Could “Ban” Uber at EWR Airport

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Update: Newark’s mayor has reached a “tentative agreement” to keep Uber operating at EWR.

Say what you will about Uber, but the car sharing service has certainly made it affordable to get to and from Newark Airport without the time-consuming process of taking a subway, a train and another train in each direction — especially if you’re getting 21.5% back with every ride. (If you don’t yet have an Uber account, you can sign up now to receive a free ride (up to $20) from TPG.) I’ve managed to travel from EWR to Lower Manhattan for roughly $45 with UberX, saving hours of commuting time over the past few months alone. Unfortunately that could come to an end.

Uber sent the following note to customers this morning:

Mayor Ras Baraka is working with taxi special interests to drive Uber out of Newark. In 6 days, the Newark City Council will vote on an ordinance that would effectively ban Uber from Newark. This ordinance would make it impossible for Uber driver-partners to afford to do business in the City of Newark, at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and at Newark Penn Station. Today we are introducing a new option in our app called ‘Baraka Ban’. It shows the residents of Newark and the hundreds of thousands of travelers who come through EWR everyday what it will be like if Mayor Baraka drives Uber out. If you don’t like what Newark looks like without Uber, make your voice heard. Tell Mayor Baraka to stop the Uber ban!

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This is terribly unfortunate news. Not only is Uber far cheaper than a taxi, the drivers are also so much friendlier, and the cars are much cleaner, too. According to Uber, the city is voting in six days to charge Uber drivers $1,500 in fees, plus an additional $1,000 to pick up passengers at Newark. By comparison, taxis pay roughly $300 in fees to the city (according to Uber), with no additional charge for airport pickups.

Uber is suggesting that $85,000 in donations from “taxi special interests” could be influencing this latest political move against the ride-sharing firm. “Team Uber New Jersey” is asking customers to tweet @RasJBaraka and call the mayor’s office at (973) 733-6400 to express concern about the proposed “ban.”

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