Mayor John Stromberg’s “friendly veto” of the City Council’s vote to allow ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft to operate in Ashland does little more than further delay a matter that has been debated for more than a year. It’s time to move on.
Stromberg took the rare action — only his second in 10 years — after the council voted 4-2 last week to allow transportation network companies to operate in Ashland. In a memorandum explaining his reasons, Stromberg said he issued the veto “not to permanently ban ride-hailing services from operating out of Ashland,” but “to urge the council to more thoroughly consider the pros and cons” and to try to get some “fairly minor accommodations” from the companies, including more thorough background checks and vehicle inspections. Unfortunately, the companies have made it clear they will not operate in Ashland under those requirements.
Residents concerned about vehicle safety and criminal background checks need not use the service.
Uber and Lyft operate in Medford now, and run from the airport to Ashland, but cannot initiate rides in Ashland without city approval. Visitors are frequently amazed to find they cannot use a service they find virtually everywhere else.
As for “more thoroughly” considering the “pros and cons,” the council has hashed those out since October 2017. The council should reiterate its clear support for a service that many city residents want to see, vote 4-2 again, or better, and put this issue in the rear-view mirror.