WICHITA, Kansas – Uber cab began offering service in Wichita on Thursday.
Uber seamlessly connects riders to drivers through a app that can be downloaded on your phone, and the company has seen explosive growth since it was founded in 2009.
When you register for service with the Uber app, payment information is taken down so that when you are dropped off, you are billed to your phone. KSN tried the phone app service, and a driver showed up within minutes.
“It accepted your call and routed my destination to pick you up,” said driver Chauncey Wilson. “This phone on my dash is from Uber. It tags GPS and finds me and shows me on my way to you.”
WIlson says the whole trip, tip and all, is paid with your credit card, through the app.
“This seems like a great way to earn some extra money,” says Wilson. “This is the first Uber fare in Wichita that I know of.”
For a half hour drive around downtown, the trip cost $12.20. And KSN got a chance to “rate” our driver on the app. We gave Wilson five stars.
“I’ll return the favor,” says WIlson.
KSN got five stars as well, because the drivers get to rate passengers.
Uber has been challenged in other markets, and has faced lawsuits over allegedly taking a percentage of the driver’s tips. And some cities have challenged Uber and how it is regulated.
KSN asked city leaders about Wichita regulations.
“We anticipated that Uber would arrive in Wichita so we have been reviewing our current regulations and what other cities have adopted,” says Wichita City Manager Robert Layton. “We are finalizing that work and will start to engage with stakeholders before bringing a recommendation to the city council.”
No cab or taxi companies called KSN back, after we requested their thoughts on Uber. So, we asked a limo company.
“First, Uber is a great idea. Brilliant,” says Quentin Shackelford, President of All-Class Limo. “They (Uber) are creating a marketplace nobody really knew existed. The fact of the matter is people want that type of service. But others will also want a limo company. They want the extra attention, the professional driver. Versus just hooking up with some random person on an application for a cheaper price, that’s more for a ride home.”
Shackelford says Uber won’t really compete with his business. But, he wonders if it will compete with taxi or cab companies. He also wanted to know if it will be regulated.
KSN asked city council members.
“First of all, I’m glad they are here. They’ve been very successful in other cities and they put on a good face,” says City Council Member James Clendenin. “They make a great impression on visitors. So a quality company like that is a company that we want operating in Wichita. So, yes, we need to look at our ordinances and make sure that it’s (ordinances) not stifling businesses and keeping good, quality businesses outside our city.”
The app offers services in cities across America and in 45 countries.
To get a quote of fares in Wichita, click here.
To find what cities Uber is in, click here.