Uber is officially taking calls in El Dorado, which will come in handy for grand opening of the Murphy Arts District this week.
Uber is a ride-hailing service that operates in 633 cities worldwide through a smartphone app.
El Dorado resident Albert Glenn is an active driver for Uber and has been with the service for two weeks.
“At first, it started out kind of slow,” Glenn said. “I wasn’t getting any calls. Then someone from the airport called me wanting me to come pick them up. After that, it has been one call right after the other.”
Driving for Uber started out as a side job for Glenn, but he hopes that it continues to grow in El Dorado so he can drive full time.
All but one of his passengers have been from out of town, he said.
“I’m thinking this weekend will be a little busier,” he added.
Glenn said he wants people in El Dorado to know that Uber is an option.
“I know El Dorado needs something like this. If I answer a call, I’m going to pick you up,” he said.
There have been reports of other drivers in El Dorado, but reports suggest that the drivers have not arrived when requested.
In May 2016, city officials reported that someone was seeking to be an Uber driver though that did not come to fruition. At the time, officials said that there was no documentation requiring that person to appear before the council, but it was noted that the applicant had been issued a city taxi permit at a cost.
Glenn said he did not know of any requirements he had to complete for the city. City ordinances concerning vehicles-for-hire services does not make mention of any permits or licenses required by the city, though it does make note of some liability insurance that may be required by state statute for taxi drivers.
For prospective drivers, there is an application process that has to be completed before picking up passengers. Drivers must be at least 21 years old, have a clean driving record and pass a background check. The background check can take anywhere from a few days to weeks to be completed.
Drivers must also have a valid U.S. driver’s license, proof of vehicle registration and proof of vehicle insurance.
Vehicles must be 2007 or newer, four-door and be in good condition. Phones must be an IPhone 4s or newer or Android 2013 or newer.
To ride in an Uber, a user must first download the app and pay with a credit or debit card.
Before the driver arrives, a user will see their name, photo, car make and model and license plate number, to ensure the user gets in the right vehicle.
Glenn said he typically turns on his app around 3 p.m. and keeps it on until he goes to sleep.
“If I stay up until midnight, I keep it on until midnight,” he said. “Usually if someone has me come and get them, they’re going to call me again to pick them back up.”
Users can also get a fare estimate before requesting an Uber to see how much the ride will be.
“I finally found something I can actually make some money at,” Glenn said. “I really enjoy picking up people and taking them where they need to go.”
Kaitlyn Rigdon can be reached at 870-862-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.