April 24, 2014 - 10:49am
BY SHOHAM GEVA
For about two weeks, students and Ann Arbor residents will have access to free transportation within the city and in the Ypsilanti area.
Uber, a transportation service that operates primarily through mobile devices, launched in Ann Arbor on Tuesday and is offering anyone who downloads its app 10 free rides worth up to $25 each during its first two weeks of operation.
The app works by connecting people looking for rides in the area and people willing to offer their services and vehicles as drivers. Passengers pay a metered fee similar to that of a taxi and drivers receive most of the profit, with a percentage going to the company.
In Ann Arbor, Uber is offering two different service options, UberBLACK and UberX. UberBLACK will charge a $6 flat rate as well as $2.70 per mile, making it a bit more expensive than local taxi rates in the area. In comparison, local taxi service Amazing Blue Taxi charges a $3.00 flat rate and $2.50 per mile. UberX, the company’s second option, is slightly cheaper at a flat rate of $2.80 and a charge of $1.80 per mile.
However, the business’s tenure here might be short-lived. Earlier this year, the city of Detroit issued a cease-and-desist order against Uber over a disagreement on whether or not traditional limo and taxi laws apply to it, and Ann Arbor City Councilmember Stephen Kunselman (D–3rd Ward) told the Detroit Free Press earlier this week the city might choose to take a similar measure, citing public safety concerns about the legitimacy of Uber’s drivers.