Local fans of the car service app Uber will have something to rejoice about in the next few weeks.
Uber spokesperson Eva Brehend recently confirmed that the San Francisco-based company will be expanding its car service to San Luis Obispo this summer, though she could not say exactly when.
“For months, residents in San Luis Obispo have been opening the Uber app and asking us to come to town,” Brehend said.
Uber allows users to sign onto its app and connect with local drivers and rideshares for rides. They can use the app to reserve a car, as well as track its destination.
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It offers reservations for both its signature black cars and its low-cost feature, UberX, which uses drivers’ own cars for cheaper fare. Clients pay for the ride through the app, and costs vary depending on the type of car, the distance and the city.
Though Uber is similar to a taxi service, it and other ridesharing companies (also known as transportation network companies or TNCs) do not face the same regulations, such as requiring a commercial driving license for all drivers.
This has spawned discontent among taxi drivers in cities across the world, including London, Boston and most recently, Los Angeles: L.A. taxi drivers staged a protest Tuesday in front of the Los Angeles City Hall.
According to the Los Angeles Times, drivers were concerned at the lack of regulation for TNCs, citing events like the alleged kidnapping of an inebriated woman by an Uber driver at the beginning of the month.
TNCs are subject to some regulations by state agencies — the California Public Utilities Commission monitors ridesharing and requires them to obtain a Class P Transportation Network Company permit.
The commission approved a permit for Uber in April. The permit prohibits Uber from using vehicles that seat 11 or more passengers, including the driver, or have top lights or taxi meters anywhere on the car.
The permit also requires that all reservations be made through “the use of an applications on an online-enabled device” and prohibits street hailing.