Uber on the go

Uber, founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2009, is an American transportation company headquartered in San Francisco, CA. The company provides consumers temporary car service from local Uber drivers in cities around the world. Customers can submit a trip request through the Uber smartphone app, which allows for them to request and pay in advance before the message is sent to the driver.  

Uber has become widely used by younger generations in most areas, including Arlington. The driving service is easy to access and convenient for young adults on the go. It is especially helpful to customers who are not in a position where they are able to drive, whether that may be because of young age, lack of access to a car, or the effect of being under the influence. “Ubers are very timely, and I can blast my Spotify on the [Auxiliary Input Jack],” senior Elisabeth Rios-Brooks said.

Access to Uber transportation has benefits like convenience, but there is a safety risk. Though drivers follow strict safety standards, including background checks, cases have occurred where customers were subject to danger. According to whosdrivingyou.org, incidents have involved assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, pedestrian deaths and convicted felons behind the wheel. According to insidenove.com, an encounter involving compromised safety with an Uber has already occurred in Arlington. The incident involved a 58-year-old Uber driver who was charged with sexual assault by one of his riders this past August. “I think with any type of cab there is a risk,” senior Veronica Sirotic said. “[It is] just important to have some type of safety precautions.”

It is difficult to determine if Uber will remain as popular as it is today. A competing transportation service called Lyft, founded by Logan Green and John Zimmer in 2012 is gaining attention and an increase in use in about 65 U.S. cities including New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Additionally, Lyft plans to continue to expand domestically and internationally. The company is similar to Uber in multiple ways. For example, Lyft provides a smartphone app that can be downloaded and used to coordinated rides between customers and drivers just like Uber does. “I’ve never used Lyft, but I have a few friends that do,”senior Kevin Pei said. “[It is] basically the same as Uber, so a preference for one over the other [can not] really be determined until we see what people prefer to use in the future.”