Uber raises excitement, concern in Columbus


COLUMBUS, Ga. – History has made its way to the Fountain City. Uber’s arrival to Columbus has some people excited and others on edge. City and company officials introduced the popular ride sharing service Tuesday. Spencer Kiefer drove the first passenger in Columbus for Uber. Kiefer praises Uber’s convenience and opportunity to make extra income.

“It’s a good way to make money and meet people,” Kiefer said.

Kevin Roberts also gives Uber high marks. The blind CSU student from Harris County must commute at least 30 minutes each day. But with Uber, the first Uber passenger (along with Mayor Teresa Tomlinson) will look forward to getting around in an affordable manner.

“Mom’s doing all the driving now,” Roberts said. “But at least she wouldn’t have to go so far. She can go halfway to Hamilton, and I can get an Uber from there.”

Uber Atlanta’s General Manager Luke Marklin says the timing was right for Uber to expand its Georgia footprint from Atlanta to the Chattahoochee Valley.

“We have had a high demand for both riders and drivers,” Marklin said. “We are signing people up everyday.”

However, not everyone is included in Uber’s expansion. State and municipal governments have not paved the way to bring in the ride sharing service. And while the company is working to reach military bases and posts, including nearby Fort Benning, the military community there will have to wait a little longer to get the service.

Cab company owner John Golden believes his business still holds an advantage over the advent of ride sharing services like Uber.

“There’s been murders and rapes,” Golden told News 3. “And I blame that on the fact that the police department doesn’t do a background check on those. But we go through a very rigid check.”

While Uber can help hundreds of people in Columbus, many still fear not all is fair in the transportation war.

“I had a former employee that works for Uber in Atlanta now,” Golden said. “And if they’re busy, they’ll go up 4 times on your rate without telling you.”

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