Uber’s ridesharing service is launching in Chattanooga today.
Today at noon, UberX, which is the lowest-cost Uber option, will start serving downtown, according to an email from an Uber spokeswoman.
UberX is the company’s product that contracts local folks using their own vehicles to drive.
In other cities, they have other products such as UberBlack, which involves black Lincoln Town Cars.
“Uber connects riders with the closest-available driver in town, ready to pick them up in minutes,” spokeswomanKaitlin Durkosh said via email. “Riders see a photo of the driver, the driver’s vehicle make and license plate number, and can even watch the driver on the app’s map come toward them.”
Fares from North Shore to downtown cost about $11, Miller Plaza to Ferger Place costs $7 and the airport to UTC is $16.
There is also a fare splitoption, which makes rides more affordable.
Both new and existing users get their first five rides free (up to $25 each) in Chattanooga through Nov. 27.
Billy Guernier, general manager for regional expansion,said that all drivers go through background checks and must get their vehicles approved.
Drivers can make $20 or $25 an hour and drive as much or as little as they want, he also said.
Uber leaders came to Chattanooga after gauging interest, which has been strong.
They look at how many people in a specific area have downloaded the Uber app and how many people show interest in being drivers.
As of launch day, there are dozens of drivers in the area, but Guernier said he expects demand to grow.
“What we see as we enter a market is that demand only continues to rise,” he said.
Services like Uber have drawn criticism in some cities.
Leaders in Memphis sent cease and desist letters to Uber and Lyft, another app and ridesharing business, for operating without the needed city permits, according to a news release from a campaign calledWho’s Driving You?
Guernier said that Memphis leaders are working to codify things that Uber is already doing.
“We enter a market, and there’s no regulations around ridesharing,” he said. “We already do a bunch of things to make sure it’s safe, but some cities want to write rules to regulate ridesharing.”
As long as the rules protect innovation, Uber leaders support that, he also said.
And he said that there’s a lot of transparency in the Uber process. Users can see a photo of the driver each time they are picked up, he said.
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