By Felicity Bosk
The ride-sharing cell phone apps Uber and Lyft could begin operating in Duluth as early as April 27, according to Duluth City Councilor Noah Hobbs.
Hobbs and other City Councilors have been working on a resolution to have these two businesses meet the same standards of safety as other taxi cabs and transportation companies. Once the resolution is accepted by both the Duluth City Council, the Uber and Lyft can begin operating.
“They would be here regardless, and as a Councilor we have an obligation to provide safety, whether you as a consumer are using a cab or other transportation company. Safety is a concern of mine and we need to regulate it so any transportation network or cab company is held to same standard of vehicle safety,” stated Hobbs.
As for Superior residents, Uber and Lyft could drop you off in Superior but would not be able to pick you up. Hobbs recommended that any UWS students who would like to see these ride-sharing companies expand to Superior, they should contact their City Councilors or Mayor.
Uber and Lyft are very similar companies that operate using a free cell phone app. Once downloaded, you can set up your credit or debit card for automatic payments when your ride is requested. With Uber, when the app opens, it asks “where to?” and already knows where you are. You can see little cars on the GPS so you know how far away potential drivers are. When you hit “request” it tells you your drivers name, their picture, the car they are driving, and their license plate number.
“It provides another option for transportation,” said Hobbs. “It especially helps for transportation during Grandma’s [Marathon], the tall ships, and the air show. Folks come up here from cities, and are used to these services, and the lack of services reflects poorly on the city.”
Uber was founded as UberCab in 2009, while Lyft began in 2011. Both companies were founded in San Francisco, but Uber has been seeing much more success. Uber has over 100 million downloads while Lyft has over 10 million downloads.