When the Los Angeles Department of Transportation banned app-driven ride-share services Uber, Lyft and Sidecar last week, their local fans turned to incoming Mayor Eric Garcetti for hope.
And on Sunday, Uber sort of forced the issue on the new mayor. All travelers in and around City Hall, where Garcetti's inauguration was taking place, were offered $10 off their ride.
The promotion was pitched as a celebratory gesture, even as the city and the companies are engaged in a standoff. Although the DOT has banned ridesharing companies from operating, all three have vowed to continue operating in the city.
As an Uber spokesman said in a statement: "Angelenos have welcomed and supported Uber since our March 2012 launch and we are excited to be part of a better future for drivers, riders, and this city. This $10 credit is one small way to say thank you."
Executives at Uber and the other companies are no doubt hoping the new Garcetti era will be a better one than the recently ended one. Last week, the city's taxicab administrator sent cease and desist letters to the three companies, accusing them of operating bandit taxicab operations. L.A. taxicab unions have been up in arms, saying the companies do not have permits and that drivers do not carry proper insurance. The companies have denied the accusations.
Hundreds of local users of the ridesharing services have decried the move and appealed to Garcetti to help. The new mayor has deep ties to the local tech economy and ran on a platform that heavily promoted the region’s growing sector.
He has yet to comment on the city's ban.