In August 2016, Uber, the popular ride-sharing company, launched in Johnson City after many tweets, posts and calls were sent to headquarters by eager college students.
Uber Technologies Inc. opened in San Francisco, California, in March 2009. Since then, Uber has expanded to 81 countries and appears in 563 cities worldwide.
Uber is known as a safe and efficient way to get around the city and is especially popular Thursday through Saturday evenings. On the app, patrons are able to see how many cars are in the area and the time it would take for drivers to arrive.
Uber allows smartphone users to request a driver who will take them to their destination. Through the app, the cost of the drive is calculated and a map is provided to both the user and the driver to provide ease of use and comfort for all.
Though Johnson City seems like a small town, it’s booming when it comes to night life and usage of ride-sharing.
“Uber is perfect for a night out,” said sophomore Keyana Miller. “Not worrying about driving and parking everywhere is super convenient.”
However, junior Blaine Smith frequently uses Uber when traveling, but has never used it in his own community.
“There’s no need to use it here,” said Smith. “I’m from around here so if I need a ride I’d take my car or call a friend.”
Washington D.C., Boston and San Francisco are the top three cities for Uber drivers. Unsurprisingly, these are tourism heavy cities with large populations. In contrast, Johnson City has approximately 65,000 people to Washington D.C.’s 659,000.
“There is no real advertisements for the service other than word of mouth,” said Uber driver Troy Melvin. “I get several first-time riders telling me they had not even realized it was available in the area.”
Junior Lindsey Webb was not even aware that Uber was available in the area until a month ago.
Compared to taxi cabs and other public services, Ubers tend to be more cost efficient, cleaner and more customer centric, according to both the drivers and users. Those three aspects are the most important, across the board, for a five-star ride.