Uber Serves Northeast Arkansas

by Kayce Wilson
Delta Digital News Service

JONESBORO- Northeast Arkansas welcomed Uber in early August, with the Uber-friendly area reaching over 15 cities.

Jonesboro’s new development reaches toward Memphis, the first hub near the Delta region. Drivers can take people out of the region, such as if a Jonesboro resident needs a ride to the Memphis airport. However, drivers cannot pick up someone in Memphis and bring them back to Jonesboro.  

Uber began during a taxi ride in France in 2009 when the creators, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, wanted simpler options for travel. UberCab started the next June.

Starting as an idea about a simple phone app, Uber now acts as a new way to get around. With Uber, users can now receive packages or takeout with expanded service.

Uber operates in over 633 cities worldwide, with the 1 billionth ride occurring in 2015.

With Jonesboro being a college town, Uber acts as a newer way to limit the number of unsafe drivers on the road. Rides are mainly requested on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Uber driver Austin Sandy in front of his Kia Soul. Sandy uses his primary vehicle while working for Uber. (Photo courtesy of Austin Sandy)

Austin Sandy, a Jonesboro Uber driver, said, “I would much rather someone act a fool in my car than them get behind the wheel of their own car while they’re under the influence.”

A-State junior Gianna Confer used this service during her travels to Australia, Indonesia and Mexico. She mentioned the lack of confusion regarding your destination as a beneficial aspect.

“You put your pickup location and the destination into the app. If you can’t speak the language of the driver, they still know where you are trying to go,” Confer said.

Compared to taxis or traveling in foreign countries, Uber gives you a preset estimation and automatically selects the shortest route. Credit or debit card information is already entered in the app for direct deposit, and riders can tip their driver through the app as well.

Sandy said the flexibility of working for Uber makes it a great job. He works a full-time job and makes extra money on the weekends by turning on his Uber location. Once the location is on, passengers can see nearby drivers and request a ride.

“As a driver, you don’t have to worry about making change for your riders or people targeting you or trying to steal from you,” Sandy said.

As for ride safety, all drivers must go through a background and motor vehicle report check. When requesting a ride, the app displays a small picture of your driver alongside a description of their car and a license plate number.

Uber’s rating service ensures that other experiences will improve by letting both parties rate each other after a ride.  

To request a ride, download the app and then make an account. Once location is synced, riders can see the nearby cars in their area. Payment information is entered into the app and then all payments will be done digitally. After the passenger enters the current location and destination, the only thing left to do is hit request.