While more prevalent in a large city, Knox students have used the services of ridesharing to their fullness and see the goods and bads of the evolution.
Senior Laura Lee described her caution with the service and its domination of the riding field. While it gives anyone with a four-door car a potential source of income, it is diminishing the taxi business in great strides. However, she also appreciates the ease of access and the community it builds within each individual ride.
Senior Riya Tiwari hopes that the services become more popular in areas smaller than Chicago or Peoria, especially in a town like Galesburg where there are international students at Knox without a car. While the buses running through town provide some transportation, more access to ridesharing would help.
“I think it would be helpful to have it in Galesburg, since we don’t really have much public transportation, especially for international students that don’t have a driver’s license, or wouldn’t want to buy a car for just four years,” said Tiwari. “I’ve had wonderful conversations in Ubers in big cities. One time I met someone and he gave me his business card, because we had a conversation about jobs and work. It’s a cool way to meet new people.”
She says that she has only had positive experiences with Uber, even when she lost things. Once after forgetting her cell phone and wallet in a St. Louis Uber, the driver returned it the next day to where she was staying.
“It’s nice that it’s real people driving. These are mostly people doing this part time, they’re not trying to rip you off,” said Tiwari.
Payment for the rides is also considerably cheaper in a rideshare compared to that of a standard taxi. Junior Brendan Reeves recalls an instance of riding to the train station from the airport and the significantly different experiences between the two services.
“Uber was a much better experience for me,” said Reeves. “To start, the cost of the taxi was near $80 and the Uber was only $23. That, and the fact that my taxi driver was a nut, driving around 90 miles per hour and my Uber driver was a sweet woman who talked to me about movies. After using Uber, I can’t see myself doing it any other way again.”
Reeves thinks the service would thrive in the Knox community. With stores such as Target and Walmart being well outside of walking distance from the college, he thinks being able to take a small ride would help those who don’t always have a car available.
“Whether it’s just getting a prescription or a gallon of milk, it would be nice to simply call someone else to give you a ride instead of having to ask a friend,” Reeves said. “Uber is basically having a friend to chip gas money to without having to know anybody.”
A newly implemented option within the service is Uber Pool, where customers share rides like a carpool. The service allows the driver to get two rides done at the same time and makes sure that both destinations are within a five mile radius of one another.
Freshman Rassen Acharya explained that using this service has helped her in tight situations.
“When I was in New York, I had this time where nobody knew what to do, and we had to get somewhere, but nobody knew how to get there, or what to do, we were lost,” said Acharya. “I called an Uber and it came in five minutes and took us where we wanted.”
Acharya does not believe Uber is necessary in Galesburg, as we have the bus and several different cab companies. He also does not think Uber would come to a town as small as Galesburg. From a business perspective, the demand would likely not be very high outside of the Knox campus.
Though Uber may not be coming to Galesburg any time soon, the consensus is that it’s a great resource when trying to get around a bigger city, and a great way to make unexpected social and professional connections.