Their “now hiring” ads started showing up on social media forums just weeks ago, but now, uberX, the ride-sharing service frequenting local Facebook feeds, is officially hitting the streets of Greenville.
Beginning Thursday at noon, the transportation network company began operations in Greenville, Charleston, Columbia and Myrtle Beach.
Uber, a company valued at $18.2 billion, has created mobile apps that can connect passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire. The mobile platform enables passengers to access transportation options whenever and wherever they want while allowing the drivers to increase their frequency of fares. Based in San Francisco, Uber initially used a particular set of vehicles but launched the lower-priced uberX after 2012 to include a larger selection of cars and appeal to a broader market.
Once the app is downloaded, the company will connect riders with the closest available driver. Riders can see a photo of the driver, the car he or she is driving, and even watch the driver on the app as the car approaches, according to a release issued by the company.
Although Uber has secured operations in 130 cities and 37 countries across the globe, the ridesharing service has faced a wide array of criticism in cities such as New York, San Francisco and Paris. An article published by Bloomberg Businessweek reported that opponents of Uber accuse the company of risking passengers’ lives with untested drivers, offering questionable insurance, and lowering prices as part of a long-term conspiracy to kill the competition.
In an interview with the Upstate Business Journal last month, Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett said the opposition is a reflection of the existing antiquated industry.
“We are revolutionizing the transportation industry, and anytime change is brought about, it is disruptive,” he said.
Currently, the City of Greenville has three certified taxicab companies and a contracted ground transportation service in place at Greenville-Spartanburg Airport.
All driver partners must undergo Uber’s rigorous screening process. In order to be an uberX partner in South Carolina, drivers must pass:
- A stringent background check
- A driving history check
- Ongoing quality controls
All Uber rides are backed by an insurance policy, and riders will always have the option to rate every driver. Visit uber.com for more information.
Sample fares from around South Carolina:
- S. Main Street to Bon Secours Wellness Arena: $6
- Bob Jones University to Centre Stage: $9
- GSP International Airport to Downtown Greenville: $29
- King Street to North Charleston: $15
- USC to Williams-Brice Stadium: $7
[WATCH: We hit the streets to see what people thought about Greenville’s existing cab services and the potential of Uber expanding to Greenville. | by Susana Shetler]