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Re: Public Comment: Updating city code to allow ride sharing

Thank you for your input...this is a complex issue, in my mind, because of the impact on local cab companies, who are required to be open 24 hours a day and pay people to drive, while ride-sharing outsources these costs. 

Can you explain to me why an existing taxi company could not provide the same services? 

Charlyn Ellis

From: "William O'Neill" <william.oneill@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: ward5@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 12:44:06 PM
Subject: Public Comment: Updating city code to allow ride sharing

Dear Councilor Ellis,


I am writing today to express my hope that you and the rest of the city council would consider fast tracking changes to the Corvallis city code to allow ride sharing services, like Lyft and Uber, to operate within the city. In addition to embracing change and technological advancement and making life easier for me personally, I support these companies for several reasons:


These services allow individuals who live and work in Corvallis and the surrounding area to be more highly mobile and not beholden to bus stops and schedules in order to make plans. This type of transportation freedom allows those without cars, who consume alcohol, or maintain work or leisure schedules incompatible with current public transportation options to rapidly, safely, and cheaply get where they need to go. This encourages use of downtown shops, restaurants, and bars, which would contribute to economic growth within the city.


The option to use these ride sharing services may also serve to reduce the total number of cars on the road and parking demand which would be a boon for city infrastructure and the environment. Additionally, the ability to order a ride on demand may reduce the need for people to own cars at all, which saves money (see below) and may allow for other purchases, either necessities or frivolities, which would also contribute to economic development in the city. My decision to purchase a second vehicle for our home relies greatly on whether or not ride sharing services become available here.


The cost of living in Corvallis is high for general prevailing wages. Despite being a professional and being employed in an advanced training program at Oregon State University, I would be unable to afford to live here if my wife did not also have a job and an income. I know for a fact that I am not the only one who is in this situation. Allowing ride sharing services allows local drivers to capitalize on an investment they have already made (their vehicle) and work to make ends meet in their spare time.


College students need better options for late night travel to escape from dangerous and unsafe situations. Having been a college student in the recent past, I know that drinking too much happens sometimes. Without a quick, reliable, and cheap way to get home and return in the morning to retrieve their vehicle, people are tacitly encouraged to drive home intoxicated as they don’t see any alternatives. While I certainly do not condone or accept that behavior, providing additional alternatives to potential intoxicated drivers makes the streets safer for all of us.


Finally, ride sharing services provide an option for students and adults alike to escape from situations in which they are uncomfortable or unsafe, especially in terms of sexual assault and relationship violence. If someone finds themselves in a dangerous situation, they do not have time to wait for a SafeRide service to help them get home – they need that ride immediately. And while Uber and Lyft have made the news for sexual assaults that have occurred in their vehicles, the same assaults have occurred in cabs; the primary difference is that Uber and Lyft have a verifiable credit card and cell phone location trail allowing for identification of drivers and prosecution in these rare situations.


Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to see this issue addressed in the near future at a city council meeting.


T. William O’Neill, DVM, MPH

5th Ward, Corvallis, OR

e: william.oneill@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx