The growth of Uber has been one of the surprise business success stories of the last decade. Nobody could ever have predicted just how much Uber would change the taxi industry when it first launched way back in 2009, expanding from its home in San Francisco to become a worldwide phenomena worth almost $100 billion.
Uber hasn't always been welcome everywhere it went, especially by taxi drivers who felt that this level of private competition was unfair to their business. In 2015 city officials in Auburn created ordinance which required Uber drivers to have commercial insurance, pay licensing fees, for drivers to have background checks, and also to clearly display signage, as was required by every other taxi driver in the city.
In a surprise move Uber announced they would no longer operate in Auburn, leaving the city behind because of what they felt were regulations which flew in the face of their particular business model, making it impossible for the company, and its crowd sourced drivers, to comply with the city's requirements.
There's good news on the horizon though because Uber is returning to Auburn in the very near future now that Auburn City Council has passed new ordinance to make this possible. The new regulations identify the key differences between a traditional taxi company and a ride-sharing company like Uber, so both can now operate independently of each other, but within strict guidelines set out by city officials.
The regulations which made it impossible for Uber to operate in Auburn included commercial licensing, which has now been replaced by a requirement for Uber drivers to have primary automobile liability insurance, Uber can conduct their own background checks, but which are subject to bi-annual audits by the city, and individual signage and licensing is replaced by Uber paying a single licensing fee of $5,000 each year.
Overall the availability of Uber is good news for the citizens of Auburn for a number of reasons, including the availability of alternative forms of transport, and the simple fact that Uber can provide dozens of families in the city with a flexible, part-time way of earning extra money to cover their bills each month.
Another fringe benefit, which is often overlooked, is that Uber can also have a direct impact on the number of DUIs in any area they operate. Surveys have shown that drivers would prefer to use Uber to get themselves home after a night at the bar, rather than run the risk of getting a DUI. Auburn itself had in excess of 300 DUI arrests in 2015, with 20% of those drivers involved in a serious accident.
Are you looking forward to Uber’s return to Auburn? Let us know by posting a comment below.