SPECIAL REPORT: Riding Uber

Local News
Tyler City Council passed a transportation-for-hire item on August 24. Allowing the company Uber to operate in the city.
 
The Uber app allows users to order a ride on their smartphone.
 
“Tyler we have a great partnership with the local regulators, and they’ve asked up to come in and we’re really really excited,” General Manager Beth Huddleston said. 
 
Uber officially launched on September 22 and many consider it as an alternative to The Taxi Cab Company of Tyler.
 
Jamal Moharer, President of NDMJ Transportation, which operates the cab service opposes the idea.
 
“It’s a faceless company, faceless drivers, they have no interaction with their team on a personal level so they really don’t know that person is then,” Moharer said. 
 
“Trips are no longer anonymous so when a driver partner accepts a request a driver sees a rider first name, photo vehicle model,” Huddleston said. 
 
KETK compared both services by the time each vehicle came to me pick me up, cleanliness of the car, and price. Also, if music would be played while riding to each destination.
 
The taxi cab company in Tyler offers an app through NexTaxi, we use the app to order rides. along with the Uber app.
 
Three three locations were chose, first Downtown Tyler to The Village at Cumberland Park.
 
The first cab arrived in 16 minutes and Uber 9 minutes. Booth cars were clean, and played music. The cab cost $17.60 which includes a two dollar fee for credit cards payments. There was no credit card fee for Uber and the cost was $15.32.
 
The next ride, from the KETK station on the South Loop to Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. The Uber arrived in 4 minutes.
 
Uber driver Joshua Wilgus shared his thoughts on Uber operating in the city.
 
“I think once the word gets out and more people use it, it’s gonna be enjoyable for me and great for the citizens of Tyler, ” Wilgus said.
 
The cab ride to the airport  I had the same driver from my first ride, who showed up 17 minutes after putting in a request. Both the cab and Uber were clean and played music.
 
The price for Uber $18.78 and the taxi cab company $20.50.
 
For the last trip, The Rose Garden Center to the hospital district. The final cab showed up 22 minutes after ordering.
 
The car was clean but when I asked the driver to listen to music he said it was against company policy. Which differed from my previous taxi rides, where the driver turned on the radio. I called the taxi cab company to see if there is a policy.
 
According to an employee I spoke with on the phone, the company does have a policy for ‘no music’. The reason due to past incidents, where security footage audio could not be heard due to music. The employee implied it’s not heavily enforced rule.
 
The trip ended up costing $6.90. I asked the general manager of Uber, how does the company address complaints?
 
“We can suspend the relevant party and prevent then from accessing the platform, until the matter is resolved”, Huddleston said.
 
For the third Uber arrived 6 minutes after ordering, the car was clean and I listened to the radio, The cost was $7.71.
 
After completing the rides here’s what we found:
 
-All vehicles for The Taxi Cab Company of Tyler and Uber were clean.
 
-Price, Uber was cheaper than the cabs accept on the final ride, costing 81 cents more.
 
-Time, Uber swept this category, arriving under 10 minutes after requesting a ride.
 
“I found it very interesting and ironic that this topic has come up at the heel of a campaign that says shop East Texas first, well shopping East Texas first also includes you transportation dollars”, Moharer, said.
 
“We think Uber makes traveling and visiting easier and grows the economy in that way, as well as provide local citizens ways to get around,” Huddleston said.
 
 

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