Uber gains popularity, comes to Fredericksburg
By MADISON HANLEY
Uber, the transportation network system that allows members to connect with drivers in minutes, was recently permitted to legally operate within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Governor Terry McAuliffe signed two bills into law stating the legality of transportation network systems such as Uber and Lyft in the state of Virginia.
According to the Washington Post, under the bills signed by McAuliffe on Feb. 17, transportation network systems wishing to operate in Virginia must pay $100,000 for a license, and all of their drivers must pass extensive background checks, be at least 21 years of age and be insured and registered with the DMV.
One of Uber’s main appeals is the ease of use. Riders wishing to use Uber simply load the mobile app, pick a destination and within minutes a driver will be waiting to provide transport.
Once the driver has arrived, the Uber rider will receive an arrival notification from their mobile device and will be driven to their desired destination. Typically, Uber fares tend to be cheaper than regular taxi companies, which makes Uber a popular alternative.
After the bills were signed by McAuliffe, major areas in Virginia introduced Uber into their community. Recently, Fredericksburg gained its first Uber driver, a man by the name of Arsenio who pledges to give the Uber riders of Fredericksburg a clean, safe and courteous ride, according to Arsenio’s Twitter page.
Fredericksburg residents have met the introduction of Uber with mixed emotions. On one hand, some believe Uber could provide students with a cheaper and more efficient method to getting around Fredericksburg.
Kathy Taylor, a senior sociology major said Uber would be more convenient for students than the existing transportation system in Fredericksburg.
“Navigating around Fredericksburg would be a lot easier. When going out, it would be much more convenient than having to fight for the one cab,” said Taylor. “I know a lot of my friends feel the same way.”
Not only would Uber provide the residents of Fredericksburg with a cheaper and more efficient method of getting around, but according to senior French and religion double major Ruth Bordett, Uber could provide students with a number of flexible part time jobs.
“I think a lot of students would do it since they could make their own schedule, and I would trust that a student would know the area well enough to get around,” said Bordett.
However, while many UMW students are excited about the prospect of a growing Uber community in Fredericksburg, others believe Uber may become a hindrance and a safety concern.
“The fact of the matter is, with Uber, students never know who they are getting into a car with,” said senior international affairs major Hanna Elesky. “It is important that if a student is using Uber that they exercise extreme caution.”