Uber strikes back with mailers blasting Victor Crist, Al Higginbotham

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Ridesharing services have once again come under fire, as billboards begin popping up around Tampa Bay that attempt to dissuade citizens from using “illegal transportation providers.”

Uber — the biggest target in the Tampa area— is not taking this latest series of attacks lightly; the tech-company is fighting back by bringing its case for “safe, reliable transportation options” directly to the people.

With a campaign of direct mailers hitting Tampa mailboxes over the weekend, Uber calls out the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission — the group behind the anti-ridesharing billboards — for “ignoring the pleas of citizens” who want opportunities to get around town cheaply and efficiently.

The fliers, sent in advance of Wednesday’s critical PTC meeting, single out two commissioners — Victor Crist and Al Higginbotham —as the politicians that are “standing in the way of giving consumers that choice.”

Mandating 30-minute minimum wait times and $30 minimum fares are just the latest attempts to restrict competition and protect prevailing taxi monopolies, while doing little to actually improve transportation in Tampa, says Uber spokesperson Taylor Bennett in an email.

Bennett adds that Uber hopes the mailers will help citizens understand what is at stake, and what they stand to lose should the Commissioners act against ridesharing firms trying to get a foothold in the Tampa Bay market. Each mailer offers direct phone numbers for both Crist and Higginbotham, asking the public to make their voices heard and “allow the people of Tampa a choice.”

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.