Hans Riemer

County Councilmember

Montgomery County, MD

Hans Riemer was elected to an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Council in 2010, where he represents nearly a million residents. Coming into public office during difficult economic times, Hans has worked with his colleagues to address some of the toughest challenges that local governments face: setting the county on the path to fiscal sustainability, boosting economic development, funding education and transportation, and advocating for the county before the state.

An innovator in political engagement, Hans served as National Youth Vote Director for Obama for America, and in the 2004-2006 elections, Hans served as political director for Rock the Vote. A leader on Social Security, Hans also played a key role in stopping President Bush on privatization and served as a senior advisor at AARP.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft have changed for-hire transportation forever. Taxis are still required to serve vulnerable populations that TNCs may not, but Uber and Lyft are attracting the most profitable rides. Taxi companies, drivers, and regulators across the world are seeking to improve taxi service by importing some or all of the features of TNCs - smartphone apps, gps tracking, seamless payment, robust rating systems, and dynamic pricing. Some taxi fleets are already developing or buying branded apps to upgrade their dispatch services, but the success of any transportation service is ultimately dependent on how quickly, cheaply, and reliably a customer can get to their destination in relation to other services. 

Solution

Last year, Councilmember Hans Riemer introduced a bill to develop a universal taxi app for the County. The bill gives the County Department of Transportation the authority to approve multiple universal taxi apps as long as they make their data openly available so that any app can dispatch all drivers. Riders get faster service, drivers make more money, and vulnerable populations are still served. Many cab companies already have apps but none have the universal experience or fast response time of ride-sharing technology like Uber and Lyft. If other jurisdictions adopt similar rules, it will create an incentive for private companies to agree on a universal specification and create an ecosystem of taxi-based apps and services. By granting tech companies access to all taxis, the universal protocol could become a platform for further innovation, without jeopardizing the public safety or universal service goals of taxi regulation.


Problem

The current absence of a high-speed, ultra-secure, and interconnected network prevents Montgomery County from reaching its economic growth potential by investing in a vibrant life sciences community.

Solution

County Councilmember Riemer has proposed that the county government help facilitate the creation of a high-speed, secure, and interconnected fiber network that will be built based on a co-op, public utility model. The proposed network will connect with the County’s own fiber network and will be funded and built by private sector, anchor institutions already in the life sciences corridor and networking firms seeking to gain a foothold there. The resulting infrastructure will attract additional investment, new companies, and high-paying, high-tech jobs to the county to increase economic competitiveness and growth.