Freeport, Illinois — Earlier today one of our viewers sent in a question that we’d like to also ask you.
Most everyone by now has heard of Uber. Uber is a local transportation idea that allows people to earn money giving others rides to destinations they need to travel to.
According to Uber’s website, you can earn money on your own terms. “Full-time and part-time driving jobs for independent contractors are available”, in Rockford it says and “gives you the flexibility to work as much or as little as you want”.
You can hail an Uber driver with your cell phone or by going to the Uber website.
Our viewer was wondering why Freeport does not have Uber yet? They said that much smaller towns in the area have the service.
Let’s consider a few possible reasons.
One, in the example below we mapped out a trip from State Street Station on State Street in Rockford, Illinois to Freeport on Uber’s website. The cost isn’t an exact and may vary depending on weather, traffic, etc… but it gives us an idea. As you can see, the fare would be roughly $31.00.
Using Uber again, we chose a closer destination, the Rockford Memorial Hospital. That fare is just under $8.50.
Here’s yet another fare example at even a shorter distance. State Street Station on State Street to Best Buy which is just down the road. This fare estimate is $6-9 dollars.
Billy Guernier, head of Uber’s East Coast expansion team told Motherboard.com the company looks at a town’s population when deciding to bring Uber to a city but said it also looks at factors like the reliability and affordability of existing transportation options.
Guernier said Uber also looks both at “the number of riders that have opened the app in that city looking for a ride,” as well as the number of people who attempt to sign up as drivers in a city that currently isn’t covered.
The catch of Uber in a small town, rides are so short they may never exceed the minimum fare.
In Freeport for example, Pretzel City Cab operates a cab service whereby most fares are only $5.00. For Uber to come to Freeport it would have to be able to match or beat that already low fare.
Uber moves into a small town, forces local taxi and car services to match their prices, customer service, and technological advances, and the consumer wins.
While we’re not necessarily crying foul at free market, when local business are pushed out, large corporations are then free to hike prices, (not that Uber would do such a thing) without fear of competition.
Uber driver Harry Campbell told Quoted that he thinks Uber as a service is good for society as a whole since it’s been shown to lower DUI rates, provide transportation options and more, but also said he feels they need to do more when it comes to servicing their drivers.
“Uber treats drivers like disposable commodities at times” he said.
“Although Uber touts its job creation prowess, it’s also clear that they are heavily investing in driverless cars.”
Campbell says Uber has revolutionized the way people get around in big cities but says it’s more of a complimentary service in smaller towns and rural areas.
“Since there aren’t as many options to get around in smaller cities, I’ve seen that Uber passengers just aren’t as reliant on Uber as they are in bigger cities.”
We’d like to know what you think. Should Uber come to Freeport? Chime In.