Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Augusta Mayor is Offering Discount for Uber

AUGUSTA, GA (Anibal Ibarra) - Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis tweeted about Uber, the app-based alternative to regular taxi service, offering a discount to anyone needing transportation. The networked company is not in operation in Augusta, yet. The Augusta Public Transit has being embattled for decades and there was hope that with the new leadership in local government the service could be empowered. 

The tweet from Davis is not clear if is sending a message that Uber is coming to Richmond County or if the Augusta Public Transit is in its last days, or just a novel gesture from the city’s leader. 

Uber is an app-based transportation network and taxi company headquartered in San Francisco, California, which operates in cities in many countries. The company uses a smartphone application to receive ride requests, and then sends these trip requests to their drivers.

Customers use the app to request rides and track their reserved vehicle's location. As of 16 December 2014 the service was available in 53 countries and more than 200 cities worldwide, including Atlanta.

“Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. From our founding in 2009 to our launches in over 200 cities today, Uber's rapidly expanding global presence continues to bring people and their cities closer.” Website.

Investors valued Uber at $41.2 billion in its most recent equity funding last month. It now has raised more than $4 billion in equity and debt funding.

Local Driving Opportunities 

After searching job offerings in Augusta, this is what was found:

“Driving with Uber is for independent contractors only. Uber is looking for partners who know the local area and can get our community of riders around safely and quickly. You\ve got a clean record and you\re good with people. And, of course, you’ve got a car. We’ll set you up with an iPhone, which you’ll use to connect to our high-quality riders. 

Pick them up, get them wherever they’re going, get your fares. It’s that simple. What you need to know: Good money: The typical Uber driving partner makes $50k per year, and some partners make as much as $100k per year Flexible hours: Work when you want. 

Zero investment: Bring your car, Uber will provide the iPhone. Regular payments: Get checks deposited into your bank account weekly. No hassle: Know who you’re riding with and how much you made each trip. Requirements: At least 23 years old Have a 4-door vehicle, 2005 or newer Driver’s license and insurance Great personality and some entrepreneurial spirit! Customer service experience (not required) 

Who we are: Uber is evolving the way the world moves. Our in-phone app enables riders to request rides on demand. They’re picked up by a certified partner in a wide range of transportation options to suit the occasion and their budget. Private transportation, made accessible and affordable for everyone. Operating across the globe, in 50 cities and counting. If you’re looking for a job, why not be in business for yourself and drive with Uber?”

How Safe is the Ridesharing?

After some drivers in Chicago were charged with sex assaults, the company is offering a safety initiative:

“Uber is currently facilitating more than 2 million rides per month in the Chicagoland area. That is equal to approximately 67,000 rides a day or 47 completed rides each and every minute. And every minute of every day, the Uber Chicago team is working to make those rides the safest on the road.

The Simplest Safety Features of the App Are Some of the Most Effective

Transparent Trip Tracking: GPS is utilized for every ride on the platform, which allows Uber to account for the time and route of every trip.

No Ride is Anonymous: Once a ride request is confirmed, users have the picture, name, vehicle­ type, license plate number and rating of the driver.

Share My ETA: Users also have the ability to “Share My ETA” with friends and family, displaying a live map of the trip in progress.

A 24/7 Feedback Loop: Riders rate and provide comments about their experience at the end of every trip, and drivers do the same. Uber constantly monitors that feedback to ensure any incident or issue is addressed immediately.

Rider Safety Check­list: Uber Chicago also recently launched an in-­app safety checklist that every new user will see before requesting a ride. This checklist outlines key safety features and contact information for the Uber support team.

Background Checks that Exceed any Local or National Standard

In addition, we only partner with drivers who have passed the most rigorous background check in the industry.

The three-step screening process includes county, federal and multi-state checks that go back 7 years to uncover a driver’s criminal record – two years beyond what is required by Chicago’s rideshare regulations. Our background checks voluntarily go back farther than existing transportation providers. The process also checks the National Sex Offender Registry and screens the motor vehicle history of the driver.

Across the U.S. and here in Chicago, these background checks have resulted in tens-of-thousands of potential drivers being denied the opportunity to partner on the Uber platform.

Introducing New Uber Chicago Safety Team Initiatives

But we have more work to do, and we will do it. Uber is committed to constantly developing new technology tools and processes that improve safety.

To that end, today we are announcing a new program that will deploy security specialists from 3rd party firms, including off­-duty Chicago police officers contracted by Uber, to conduct real-time audits of Uber rides. These specialists will monitor, track and report any quality or safety issues found during their audited Uber rides. Any issues raised by these specialists will help us further sharpen our safety processes and technology.

These audits will occur on a monthly basis with trained security specialists, and will surface rare inconsistencies in the app, vehicle interior and exterior presentation issues, or other actionable steps Uber can take to improve the platform.”

Is the End of Public Transportation?

Is Uber the end for Augusta Public Transit? Will Uber sponsor the public service? Could the APT keep operation if the city leadership abandone the concept of public servants and become sole promoters of the private enterprise instead? 

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