KETR

Uber Rolls Into Hopkins County

Mar 1, 2018

Pull out your smartphones and get to downloading. It is time to move with the times – Uber has arrived with your ride. On Thursday Sulphur Springs, Texas was home to its first Uber riders. From folks with vehicles in the repair shop to moms with children that had cabin fever from the rainy weather, Sulphur Springs resident Adam Whitson became the first Uber driver picking up businessmen from Arkansas staying at Best Western and delivering them downtown to the Dining District.

“It has been lots of fun,” said Adam Whitson, program director and changer of a/c filters at KSST. “I have met many nice people.” He does this as a part time job and has already completed 16 pickups for Uber over the weekend.

On average a trip across town in Sulphur Springs from one to four people (since that’s how many other seatbelts his car has) would be about $10. Uber has been in Texas since 2012. Expansion to Hopkins, Hunt, and Van Zandt Counties was recently announced by State Representative Dan Flynn and other lawmakers. However, the expansion continues. With the Lyft app not far behind in the rideshare race.

Whitson enjoys the ease of extra income while combining tech aspect. He has helped a father bring a child to school, truck driver to restaurant from truck stop, a man from the hospital, along with several other interesting riders as daytime moved into evening hours.

The process of obtaining a ride is simple – like a taxi service. The rider puts in his/her destination into the app before Uber driver picks up, no cash is exchanged as it operates with credit card via the app. There are no rate negotiations. The driver is informed of how much he/she earned only after the trip is completed. Rides include a wait time fee starting after one minute and cancellation fee.

He explained the riders will have your photo, first name, license plate, description of vehicle, and are instructed to verify driver.

Some driver stipulations include must be 2002 or newer four-door vehicle, must pass a background check, show photo proof of license, plates, registration, and insurance along with software on smartphone.

“I try to keep a clean car and be on time,” added Whitson. He also provides a phone charger and tissues. The Uber app monitors: telemetry – so it knows when you are speeding to ratings – it knows when you have been nice.

He warns of “surge pricing.” He isn’t a fan saying it isn’t fair. This pricing is when demand triggers price increase. He hopes this will be remedied as more drivers become available in the area.

“So far, I haven’t had any troubles,” said Whitson, outside of a few worries of getting stuck in the mud. The app riders to follow trips in real-time for safety and helps with navigation. Uber also has specially-trained incident response teams available around the clock for a rapid response.

Many in this area are looking forward to UberEATS, food delivery service, which hopefully is on the horizon. To find out where Uber is visit www.uber.com/cities/.