KGW reporter tests out Uber ride app in Vancouver

KGW reporter tests out Uber ride app in Vancouver

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by Wayne Havrelly, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 6:56 PM

Updated Sunday, Jul 13 at 3:21 PM

VANCOUVER -- It's the app that's quickly changing the way people hail cars and pay for rides. 

With Uber, everything is done with your smart phone. It pinpoints your location and even gives you a picture of your driver and tracks his location. 

I tried out the app for the first time in front of Vancouver City Hall on Friday. My driver arrived in two minutes flat. 

Like me, driver Jeff Walsh was an Uber rookie.

"You are my very first pickup and it's really pretty cool," said Walsh. "A buzzer went off on my phone and it directed me right to you."

Uber has been in Seattle for over three years and has been trying to break into the Portland market for over a year. It wants city regulators to ease up on the rules, like allowing lower rates for town cars, which currently charge 35 percent more than cabs.

"Essentially, we would have to charge $45 just to go a few blocks and that's not the business model we are after," said Uber General Manager Brooke Steger.

Steve Entler is the General Manager of Radio Cab, which is the largest cab company operating in Vancouver. He says Uber, which is funded by the tech giant Google, is breaking the rules all over the country.

"They have chosen to ignore state and city regulations wherever they go, they're just thumbing their noses at the regulatory bodies," said Entler. 

Last December, Portland city regulators voted unanimously to reject the changes that Uber wants.

Uber drivers like Jeff Walsh provide their own vehicles and insurance, which isn't hard for Walsh since he works full time as an insurance agent.

"I thought Uber would be a great way to supplement my income," said Walsh.

 

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