Smart phone app ‘Uber’ looks to add transportation option in Bir - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Smart phone app ‘Uber’ looks to add transportation option in Birmingham

Posted: Updated:
Birmingham may soon have a new transportation option. Uber, a technology company, has a smart phone application to connect drivers to riders.

The company is posting jobs for drivers in Birmingham for a service called UberX.

Many Uber services use commercial vehicles similar to taxi cabs.

UberX is a little different. People can sign up to be drivers and use their personal cars to drive riders around town.

"We're providing more consumer choice,” said Taylor Bennett, a spokesperson for Uber. “We're providing rides at cheaper cost. And so riders and consumers are benefiting as well as the economic opportunity for drivers."

UberX is touted for being much cheaper than taxis in other cities. Drivers use their own cars to pick up passengers, who pay through the app with a credit card.

Then, Uber pays drivers 80 percent of the fare and keeps the other 20 percent.

"That covers operational costs,” explained Bennett. “It covers the marketing. Primarily, the biggest chunk of that in terms of value is the lead generation. Driver partners use the platform. We connect them with riders."

“I don't have a problem with the concept,” said Birmingham city Councilwoman Kim Rafferty. “I have a problem with the driver and the vehicles being safe and secure for the general public."

Rafferty is Chair of the Transportation and Communications Committee. She says the company began advertising before checking with the city to see what the regulations are.

"(There’s) a permitting process for the drivers and there's a permitting process for the cars. And that includes inspections. That includes having a certain amount of insurance, a clean driving record, those kinds of things."

Uber says it has a corporate insurance policy for its drivers while they use the app. It also says it does its own background checks on drivers dating back seven years.

Rafferty still has concerns, “They're not a licensing entity. They're a business. And so as we have a regulated industry for paid transportation. We have the state regulations. We have the local regulations. You have to be compliant with us."

Rafferty says the city is rewriting its code to try to work with Uber, should the company want to offer local services using commercial vehicles.

But for drivers looking at current ads for UberX, she warns, "Right now, the most definitive thing we're putting in is if we catch you operating a web based transportation service out of your vehicle in the city of Birmingham, your vehicle will be towed."

UberX is up and running in cities like Atlanta, Charlotte and Memphis.

As for the taxi company’s perspective, Ellis Houston, president of Yellow Cab, is adamantly opposed to the idea of UberX coming.

He doesn't think it's safe ad he also believes it's nothing new, pointing out that his company already has a smart phone app.

  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:22:34 GMT
    Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
  • Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:37:31 GMT
    William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
  • Gadsden reelects Mayor Guyton, approves Sunday alcohol sales

    Gadsden reelects Mayor Guyton, approves Sunday alcohol sales

    Gadsden reelects Mayor Guyton, approves Sunday alcohol sales

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:55 AM EDT2014-08-27 12:55:56 GMT
    Gadsden's Mayor Sherman Guyton wins reelection with 56% of the votes. The city also voted in favor of Sunday alcohol sales with over a 2-1 ratio; 68% to 32%.More >>
    Gadsden's Mayor Sherman Guyton wins reelection with 56% of the votes. The city also voted in favor of Sunday alcohol sales with over a 2-1 ratio; 68% to 32%.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...