Uber Ride-Sharing Service Makes Lafayette Debut
The popular ride-sharing service Uber officially comes to the Hub City starting at 1 p.m. Friday afternoon.
"We are excited that this service will be available in Lafayette. Many Lafayette residents have been requesting this service, and we are thrilled that Uber has seen enough demand to warrant beginning operations here," said City-Parish President Joey Durel in a statement.
Uber, which allows users to request a ride through a smartphone application--often for much less than traditional cab services--will be discussed during an upcoming meeting on alternative forms of transportation during Plan Lafayette Week.
Kevin Blanchard, public works director for Lafayette Consolidated Government, said city leaders have been working for the last year to expand transportation options in conjunction with the Comprehensive Plan.
"Any improvement we can make to services--whether it's cab service or better transit service, bus service, more bike lanes, more walkable neighborhoods--that not only adds to our quality of life in Lafayette but makes us more efficient," Blanchard said.
At the same time, the city's ordinances on vehicles for hire, which were written during a time when traditional cab services were the standard, will need to be updated, Blanchard said.
"You want a certain level of security and oversight in how those things operate in your city, but you certainly don't want to overregulate anybody," Blanchard said.
Uber does not come without some controversy. The company has come under fire recently amid allegations of rape on the part of some of its drivers. Company officials have since pledged to improve its background screening process.
"They've gotten a very well-proven model," Blanchard said regarding potential public safety issues with Uber. "There's always a potential for one-off incidents. The important thing is that you have a very good system in place."
While the vast majority of responses to the announcement on social media have been those of praise, at least a few remained skeptical.
"I don't see Lafayette as being big enough to really need this," Jared Luent tweeted.