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Uber Service Launches

Getting around Asheville may be easier beginning Thursday. A ride-sharing app called Uber has just launched its first rides in town Thursday afternoon. The premise of Uber is similar to a taxi service, but drivers use their personal vehicles and are paid through the app itself.

"I'm out riding around as a realtor all day, everyday, so when I'm not busy with my real estate this is a good way to earn some extra cash," says Robert Price. Robert says he had heard about the app from friends in bigger cities. He had to pass a background check, submit a copy of his driver's license, proof of insurance and a head shot in order to get the job.

"It'd be really great for events that people want to go, when they want to enjoy an adult beverage and they don't want to drive and don't want to put their license at risk," says Robert.

Now, he's getting paid $12 an hour to shuttle strangers around town. But drivers like him are making some serious competition for people in the taxi industry.

Uber prices claim to be 22-percent cheaper than their competition.
Chris Hanschmidt says he's heard the concerns of other cab drivers.

"They feel that this is just taking money out of their pockets, and you know, I certainly understand that viewpoint," says Hanschmidt.

He says the growing market for driver services may be a good thing for customers, and even drivers like himself.

"I think competition is good from the standpoint that it provides the customer a better experience. I mean, if everyone is competing for the business, then everyone has to put their best foot forward, right?"

The cost of the Uber ride from the News13 station to the Asheville Airport was $4. The cost of the taxi ride from the airport back to the station was $18.25.

Uber has been under fire in some states, including Virginia where a cease and desist order was just lifted earlier this month. Virginia state officials say they're working toward a way to ease up on the financial impact for cab drivers.

By: Hope Hanselman.
Follow Hope on Twitter @HopeNews13


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