Delaware, Uber Reaching Agreement to Allow Ride-Hailing
DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware transportation officials and the ride-hailing service Uber are finalizing an agreement to allow the company to operate in the state.
Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan says that the memorandum of understanding would put guidelines in place for Uber. Meanwhile, the department can explore whether to further adjust their regulations for Uber and similar services.
No timeline has been announced.
Cohan says part of the agreement will deal with the level of background checks Uber drivers will have to undergo.
Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett says the San Francisco-based company has seen "overwhelming demand from riders and drivers across Delaware." He declined to comment on Uber's discussions with the state.
For Millenials like Joshua Price, having a simple, accessible and quick way to get a ride at the touch of a button is essential for a fun night out.
"We use this app and they send us a picture of the cab driver and they pick us up in a Lincoln town car," said Price, who frequents Delaware's beaches and the Eastern Shore often during the summer.
That's why he and his friends use Uber, one of several ridesharing mobile apps on the market.
Its convenience, Price said, is unmatched to hailing a taxi.
"With a taxi you're just standing on the street hoping that they come pick you up at a certain time, whereas with Uber they're guaranteed to be there at a certain time," Price said.
Shawn Ballard of Milton agrees: cabs are hard to come by in Sussex County.
"It can be very difficult at times. We're in Milton which is about 20 minutes outside of Dewey. The cabs just won't go that far," said Ballard.
Critics say the younger generation using apps like Uber are putting convenience before safety.
Recent reports of Uber drivers arrested for assault, rape, even kidnapping have not phased many from using the app.
"I think I would take that assumed risk," said Price about riding with a stranger who may have a criminal background.
"You get in a cab with people you don't know to begin with so, why not somebody else," said Ballard.
Currently Uber's background checks for drivers go back seven years, whereas Delaware calls for a lifetime background check for drivers with certain offenses.
Last week, Uber announced it will discontinue services in Kansas City, Mo. due to the city's new rigorous licensing process.