Ride-sharing bill expands transportation services for Alabama

By Associate News Editor Harley Duncan

Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill March 1 that will allow Uber and Lyft to operate throughout the state of Alabama. Prior to the bill, Huntsville, Birmingham and Montgomery were among select cities allowed to incorporate ride-sharing services.

Alabama is the 45 state to legislate ride-sharing services. The bill will take effect July 1, 2018.

Senior Xavier Wherry said the ride-sharing companies could provide a valuable resource to students.

“Even though we attend a smaller university in  a smaller city, being without Uber and Lyft is a disadvantage for college students,” he said. “Some (students) don’t have modes of transportation to get around and these services would work wonders tremendously.”

Ivey told AL.com Uber and Lyft could bring jobs to Alabama.

“As you all know creating jobs and promoting Alabama’s economic development is a top priority in my administration,” she said. “I have long supported ridesharing and this bill that we sign today will create jobs and spur our economy.”

The new bill could also provide job opportunities to students at UNA. Former UNA student Monica Velasquez said she would take a job with Uber or Lyft.

“I would definitely drive for one of these services because it is a great way to make money and you could basically make your own schedule,” she said. “I think Uber and Lyft are safer and more reliable.”

A competing cab service in the Shoals area, Quad City Taxi believes the bill will not affect their business.

Office Manager Regina Hayes said the taxi service does not like the new bill, but she still believes  residents in the Shoals will stay faithful to the local company.

“I don’t think the bill is a good thing for the Shoals,” she said. “I believe Shoal’s residents will stay local because our drivers are the best, and because we are more personal with our customers.”

One of the most obvious differences that could attract UNA students are Uber’s and Lyft’s mobile apps. The app friendly companies could draw most of their business from students.

Junior Rachel Shockey said she would prefer to use an app over calling for a taxi.

“When I was a freshman, I shared a car with my sister and we were always on completely different schedules,” she said. “If I found myself without a car, it would have been really nice to have been able to request for a ride through an app on my phone.”

Mayor Steve Holt is working on a plan for Florence to implement the new ride-sharing services. Stick with The Flor-Ala to receive updates.