LA taxi, ride-share drivers opposing proposed ban on digital rooftop ads

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Some Los Angeles taxi and ride-share drivers are opposing a proposed ban on digital rooftop advertising signs.

Francisco Gonzalez is an Uber driver on the bandwagon to lift restrictions on car-top digital billboards. For him, it's a no-brainer. The billboard company Firefly pays drivers $300 a month.

Gonzalez has a new baby and bills.

"The rent is $1,400. The payment for the car is $553," he said.

Firefly is hitting roadblocks in Los Angeles. The city council said the moving displays are distracting to drivers and is a potential blight.

What's more: that there are state and local laws that prohibit such signs. Firefly disputes that.

They refer to a code for taxis that allows for illuminated ads as long as the screens are small and not so bright.

Some on the council are pushing for a repeal of that taxi code and a definitive ban on the signs.

About safety: Firefly says the rooftop displays are angled to be aimed at pedestrians, not visible to a drivers behind someone like Gonzalez. He said there is another side to safety that should be considered.

"Without the help from (Firefly), I have to drive many more hours, and that is dangerous," he said.

Firefly says it's hired an outside law firm to help it navigate city rules as they lobby city leaders and seek support from the public moving forward.
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