WESLACO – At an official announcement held at the Rio Grande Valley Partnership headquarters Uber, a ride-sharing company unveiled their services are ready to be used just in time for the Fourth of July holiday.
David Brightman, general manager for Uber Rio Grande Valley said bringing the ride-sharing company to the area is something that has been long in the making.
“We're excited to be here to partner with the community,” he said. “We want to make it easy for people to get where ever they need to be with the push of a button and create some flexible earning opportunities for drivers.”
For those wanting to drive with Uber downloading the Uber Driver application will be the first step. Just like applying for a job candidates will have to enter some personal information, pass a background process and assuming everything is cleared, the driver can be on the road in roughly two weeks.
Brightman also said the company recently launched an initiative called 180 Days of Change to fundamentally revamp and improve the driving experience with Uber. The first phase was launched just last week which included new features for drivers like a tipping.
With the Fourth of July holiday around the corner Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim service specialist Ana Verley said from time-to-time people give her excuses like not having a reliable cab service.
“This is at your fingertips, you can preschedule it and there is no reason not to have a designated driver with Uber,” she said.
Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays. Four crashes
There were 3,371 deaths last year on Texas roads and of those 987 were alcohol related. According to the Texas Department of Transportation last year 12 drivers died under the influence of alcohol in fatalities in Hidalgo county.
State Representative Armando Martinez (TX-39) was a co-author for House Bill 100 which establishes a framework throughout the state to serve as an umbrella so all communities can have ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft in their cities.
Martinez said safety was one of the most important factors behind HB 100. A lot of times in Hidalgo County there are about 41 drunk driving incidents daily.
Because of his first responder background Martinez saw first hand accidents that could have been prevented if the drunk drivers were not behind the wheel.
“This promotes the option of safety to call an Uber or to call any ride-sharing company that may be available here in the area to get home safely,” Martinez said.
The legislation will also allow other companies to open shop so long as the rules are followed. While Uber and Lyft remain the largest ride-share companies in the state, other companies like Ride Austin opened to provide competition.