by Brian Clarey
As of last week, the rideshare service Uber launched its Triad initiative, planting flags in both Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
Sorry, High Point.
Uber is pretty simple: Download the app and sign up as a rider or driver. Not just anyone can be an Uber driver — in the Triad the gig is limited to for-hire vehicles, but they’re advertising for drivers on Craigslist now.
Getting a ride is easier — all you need is a credit card, a smartphone and a place to go.
It’s like a taxi service in that they pick you up and bring you where you want to be. It’s different in that there’s no licensing or fees for drivers; riders use the app to get picked up instead of calling a cab company and the whole thing takes place in a private vehicle.
And I think it’s great — at least on paper. Honestly, I’m probably aged out of the Uber demographic, which is likely built on young people who forsake the convenience of owning a private vehicle for a little more disposable income. But that’s exactly who I was for most of my single adult life. I would have been all over Uber in the days when I never knew how I was going to get home. And I know there are some other folks out there in the same boat I was before I had kids and needed a full-time vehicle with which to shuttle them around.[pullquote]Getting a ride is easy — all you need is a credit card, a smartphone and a place to go.[/pullquote]
It’s also worth mentioning that Uber is the hottest company of the year, with a valuation of $18.2 billion. Last year they took in $213 million on $1 billion in bookings — Uber keeps 20 percent of the fares for itself. It’s wildly popular in New York, London, Washington DC, Miami, Houston, Denver… pretty much every important city on the map. It’s actually mildly flattering that they would even consider expanding here, considering the traditional five years it takes for us to get stuff like this has not yet passed.