Uber launches in Columbus

Columbus police discuss Uber safety

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - After much discussion and anticipation, Uber official launched their operation Tuesday in Columbus.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson welcomed Uber's Atlanta GM Luke Marklin to town with a brief press conference followed by an opportunity for questions.

During the press conference, Mayor Tomlinson introduced Kevin Roberts, the person who would be sharing the first Uber ride with her. 

Roberts, 28, is a CSU student who lives in Harris County and is blind. He says he has a difficult time commuting from his home in Pine Mountain with the lack of available public transportation.

Uber will now offer Robert's mom some relief as an alternative, easy way for him to commute to school.

"It is a lot easier, it will be easy to get places a lot quicker in a central location where I don't have to have someone pick me up or what not if they are busy," Roberts said. "It just more convenient."

Roberts joined Mayor Tomlinson for a quick test ride around the block from one of the brand new Uber drivers in Columbus, Spencer Kiefer.

Kiefer, like many Uber drivers, has a full-time job, but Uber is a great way to pick up a part-time job with a convenient schedule.

"I like driving and I have only been a real estate agent for a couple of years, so just supplementing income," Kiefer said. "I have one kid and one on the way so we need some extra money."

On Monday, Columbus hosted an orientation for people who are looking to sign up to be Uber drivers. Kiefer told us there was an overwhelming outcome of nearly 80 people looking to become drivers.  

At this point Uber is not operational in either Phenix City or on Fort Benning.  However, Uber is working hard with Fort Benning to come to an agreement that works for both sides, as they are operational on other bases around the country.

Phenix City will have to wait a little longer because Alabama has different legislature when it comes to ride sharing apps.

Uber says their goal is to be able to work in both Fort Benning and Phenix City in the near future.

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