By NICOLE SMITH/Montana State News

In 2014, more than 8 million people worldwide used the app Uber to take 140 million car rides, according to Digital Marketing Ramblings.

Uber is an app that allows people to connect to drivers near them for fares usually on par or cheaper than taxi services. Their website claims that “Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers.”

Uber was developed by Travis Kalanick in San Francisco in 2009 and has grown exponentially since then and now is available in 50 countries.

What many consumers and drivers both like about Uber is that everything is done through the app. A customer can put in their location and where they want to go in the app, requests then go out to drivers in the area, who have 15 seconds to accept or ignore the request.

The customer can see the color and make of the car, as well as a picture of the driver, a live map of where the car is and the estimated time of arrival while they wait. Once the final destination is reached, the payment is made through the app and the driver doesn’t have to deal with cash or cards. The customer is then prompted to review the driver, and the driver the rider. The rider then has the option to get a receipt emailed to them.

The allure of Uber is spreading and the company with it. The Washington Post estimates that 20,000 new drivers joined Uber each month in 2014. Yet, of all these new drivers in 50 countries, the company still hasn’t been able to establish a customer base in some states in America, and Montana is one of them.

Currently, there is a Craigslist ad offering job positions as an Uber driver in Montana, specifically Bozeman. Even though Uber’s website does not list any cities in the state as having the service, this ad asks interested drivers to apply for a driving position on the official Uber website and “select Montana as your city!” According to the ad, drivers will have the opportunity to make as much as $18 per hour as long as they meet the requirements, which include “car must be 4 doors and 2005+,” “aged 21 or older” and having “Driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance in your name.”

Uber support employee Mike Allen said on the matter, “We are actively looking to open new markets and have seen a great deal of interest across Montana. I hope we will be able to provide the treasure state with reliable, safe, and economical transportation soon!

Digital Marketing Ramblings estimates that 51 percent of the 160,000 drivers using the app work 15 hours or less a week. More people are downloading the app, along with the similar apps Sidecar and Lyft, to make a little extra money driving as a part-time job.

Statista estimates Uber’s net worth in at $18.2 billion and Uber drivers are making enough money to seriously compete with the taxi system. The Washington Post reported last May that the average New York City Uber driver working 40 hours a week will make $90,766 in a year. The annual average salary for someone in San Francisco with a similar 40 hour schedule each week is $74,191. The average taxi driver is making closer to $30,000 a year.

The company does take 20 percent of each transaction and this salary does not account for Uber driver’s cost of doing business – such as gas and car maintenance – but the pay gap between Uber and taxi drivers is still significant.

East regional general manager for Uber, Rachel Holt, stated for the Washington Post that, “New people are flocking to Uber in part due to the money that they can make and due to the flexibility you have, basically being able to decide when you want and where you want to work.”

The allure of Uber is spreading and the company with it. The Washington Post estimates that 20,000 new drivers joined Uber each month in 2014. Yet, of all these new drivers in 50 countries, the company still hasn’t been able to establish a customer base in some states in America, and Montana is one of them.

– Edited By Ryley Walker

 

 

 

 

 

 

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