Letters to the Editor

Glenn Conway: Airbnb, Uber companies of avoidance

Regarding the Jan. 21 news article “ Raleigh puts off Airbnb decision”: Many people think the Airbnb issue is a question of using a private residence as a hotel. But the real issue is much bigger than this.

It is a question of the “sharing” paradigm as promoted by Airbnb, Uber and others. See, if they call themselves “ride sharing” or “room sharing” then maybe they can get away with the notion that they are not truly hotels or not truly taxi companies. They can claim that they shouldn’t have to comply with laws and regulations that affect other companies they compete with because they aren’t like those other companies.

But the reality is that Airbnb is a lodging service and Uber is a taxi service, no matter how we cut it. Would we book a room through Airbnb if we didn’t need lodging? Or would we call Uber if we didn’t need a vehicle to transport us somewhere? The answer is no.

So the reality is that both services compete against established concerns that have regulations and pay taxes. They call themselves something else to avoid the regulation and to avoid collecting taxes.

Sharing for a fee is commerce otherwise known as rental.

Glenn Conway

Holly Springs