Uber can now pick you up

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By Denise DuBois

Uber isn’t just for major cities in Alabama anymore. As of July 1, Uber and Lyft, both ride-sharing companies, were made available to rural areas of the state – including East Alabama – thanks to a law passed earlier this year. In February, spokespeople for both Uber and Lyft shared statements: Evangeline George, a spokeswoman for Uber, said, “In passing one clear set of rules for ridesharing, the Alabama Legislature stood with students who need safe rides home late at night, seniors who need rides to their doctors, and commuters who need rides to work,” George said.

Lyft spokesman Scott Coriell said, “Ridesharing services like Lyft are providing tens of thousands of Alabamians earning opportunities and transportation options that did not exist a few short years ago,” Coriell said. “We’re excited that the legislature has acted to expand these benefits to more individuals around the state, and we look forward to working with the Governor to get this bill over the finish line.”

Uber, a company boasting 3 million drivers and serving 65 countries, would not say how many drivers they currently have in Alabama due to competitive reasons, but did express their excitement for the ability to have the company go state-wide.

“We are up and running in Phenix City, and across all of Alabama. We are thrilled to have the Uber platform live across the state, providing Alabamians with rides on-demand flexible opportunities to earn as driver-partners. We are thankful to Governor Kay Ivey for her critical leadership in passing legislation during the 2018 session that has made all of this possible,” Nick Juliano said.

Residents shared their thoughts about the ride-sharing apps:

“LOVE UBER! I’ve used it multiple times in Auburn and Panama City. Only good experiences. Also makes going out and not worrying about who is driving much easier.” – Lyndzi Simpson

“I don’t live in AL anymore but I’ve used Uber multiple times. It’s pretty convenient. I’ve used it on game day to avoid having to drive in traffic myself.”  – Matt West

“Never used Uber. Honestly not sure how I feel about it.”  – Leslie Garner

Uber made some improvements. Here’s what they say:

We want every ride to get off to a great start. But when you have people, and cities, and moving traffic, something simple as a the pickup can be a big feat. As part of our continued effort to make the pickup experience simple and stress free, we’ve built new features we hope will help both riders and drivers.

Spotlight: When you’re in crowded areas or it’s nighttime, it can be hard for you and your driver to find one another. With Spotlight, you can light up your phone with a special color specific to your driver. Your driver will receive a message telling them what color to look for, so you can just hold your phone in the air.

On-time scheduled pickups, guaranteed: When you have an early flight to catch or an important meeting to get to, scheduling your ride in advance is a great way to make sure you leave on time. Our on-time guarantee means your scheduled ride will arrive during the time period you select, or we’ll give you Uber credit towards your next ride.

Pickup Messages: Sometimes you want to give your driver a little extra detail ahead of the pickup. To help you communicate with your driver without taking their attention off of the road, we’ve made sending a message simple. Now it’s even easier to share a tip (“I’m wearing a red jacket”), or send your driver a quick pre-populated update like “be right there” with a single tap. We designed Pickup Messages to encourage safe driving: your messages are read aloud, and drivers can simply tap to respond.

These improvements join existing features that let you edit your pickup location, share your live location so your driver can see where you’re located in relation to your pickup spot, and help you spot your driver using a Beacon when it’s dark.

But this is just the start. We won’t stop innovating to help take the stress out of the experience. Stay tuned for more features and updates later this year.