Ride sharing services changing student transportation
Companies such as Uber and Lyft are changing the way students get around Tucson.
Some UA students said they prefer the convenience of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to traditional cab services.
“Being able to pull up an app on my phone and get a ride in a few seconds is a lot quicker, more convenient and cheaper than any other cab service I’ve taken,” said Barak Greenblatt, a retail and consumer sciences senior.
UberX launched in Tucson in October 2013. Steve Thompson, general manager of Uber Arizona, said he has seen amazing success for the company in Tucson. A majority of Uber rides take place around the UA campus, according to Thompson, but the company also has a huge number of users throughout the Tucson community, especially downtown.
Uber requires the users to download an app onto their smartphones, which allow them to request a car to come pick them up.
The Uber app also has a map that shows how close the Uber car is to arriving.
“Not having to carry cash, being able to track your driver and use your mobile phone are all parts of the efficiency and reliability of Uber,” Thompson said.
The app automatically charges the user’s credit card for the cost of the ride, so there is no exchange of money between driver and rider.
“I like how I don’t have to carry a credit card when going out,” said Gabby D’Annunzio, a sophomore studying pre-retail and consumer sciences and business administration.
A new feature on the Uber app is the fare split. When one Uber user orders a ride, you have the opportunity to split the fare with whomever you are sharing that ride with, according to Thompson. Once you allow the app to access your contacts, you can click on the riders’ names that you are sharing the Uber with. If they have the Uber app, it will send them a message asking if they will accept the fare split, and the app will equally split the bill.
D’Annunzio said she uses Uber frequently because the service is reliable, fast and safe.
Safety is extremely important to Uber, Thompson said, along with making sure that both their passengers and drivers have the best experience every time they ride with the company.
Drivers interested in working for Uber must be at least 21 years old with a four-door car registered in their name, according to Thompson. After filling out an application, drivers must go through federal, state and county background checks.
“We want to make sure we have the top partners to ensure safety for everyone,” Thompson said.
D’Annunzio said she had her wallet stolen by a cab driver a few weeks ago and will stick with Uber.
With ride-sharing on the rise, cab companies may begin to see a decline in customers. However, there are instances where a cab may be more convenient than waiting for an Uber, said Travis Bonar, a business administration and economics senior.
“I usually take a cab,” Bonar said. “They are parked outside the bars, so it’s just easier to take one than wait for an Uber.”
Thompson said the company is looking to expand in the area.
“We are always looking to continue growing Uber in Tucson,” Thompson said.