There's a new way to get around The Vehicle City. A national ride-sharing service launching in Flint on Thursday. Itâ??s called Uber and pretty much anyone with a working vehicle can become a taxi service.
Hailing a taxi, now as simple as pressing a button.
â??I think the concept is a great one,â?? says Joshua Spencer who owns CafÃ Rhema in Downtown Flint.
Heâ??s hoping Uber brings in customers from outside downtown Flint.
â??They don't have a way of getting to a place to the mall or Grand Blanc or other areas that they made need to go to quickly,â?? says Spencer.
With the click of a button, you can request a driver. The app will even show you where the driver is and how long it will take to get to you and just a few minutes, later, the driver shows up.
This time his name is John.
â??It will create jobs for sure. It's a great side job, it's easy to get started,â?? says John Else.
But Uber has experienced concerns including a lack of regulation when it comes to passenger safety.
In other cities where Uber operates, there have been accusations of rape and kidnapping.
â??I would hope that the company has addressed those to make sure they have safe people that are on call on the app,â?? says Spencer.
â??Your driver has a rating and we rate the riders as well so you have to be on your best behavior,â?? says Else.
Still, traditional taxi drivers are skeptical Uber will take off in Flint.
â??It will work in like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, not here,â?? says Ray, a manager at Flint Townshipâ??s Hey Taxi who did not want to give his last name.
To be an Uber driver in Flint, you need a 2004 or newer model car. You also need to pass a background check and have your car inspected. Else says he makes about $15 to $20 dollars with the service in Detroit.
The service also launched today in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Lansing.