Uber Plans First Location in North Dakota

EMILY BEAMAN | THE SPECTRUM
EMILY BEAMAN | THE SPECTRUM

A taxi service based on mobile app use may soon be coming to Fargo.

Speculation continues swirling around Uber, a service that has crowd-sourcing drivers pick and choose routes submitted by the app’s users. Where or when the service might begin remains unknown.

The North Dakota legislature passed a bill paving the way for Uber’s use legally in the state.

“We look forward to making a home for Uber in North Dakota,” Sagar Shah, general manager of Uber North Dakota, said in a statement.

Users can track the selected vehicle on their smartphone. For payment, Uber directly handles fees, becoming a negotiator between customer and driver. This policy has seen mixed reviews; while some applaud its modern concepts, others have attacked its automated algorithm, which has hiked prices dramatically in past instances.

Deniz Comez, a North Dakota State senior, said he saw flat rates when he used the service this spring in San Francisco. He and his girlfriend ran into some issues, though.

“The fee was cheap for the quick service,” Comez said. “However, the first driver did not seem to be confident with his navigation and dropped us off about eight blocks away from destination.”

Comez said if Uber comes to Fargo, he would be most excited about the service’s practicality.

“Uber can be useful to me when I need a ride home from downtown or a friend’s house far way, and no one else can give me a lift after drinking.”

Earlier this year, the City of Fargo looked at regulating companies focusing on ride-hailing. The state’s new law will likely become the city’s benchmark.

“Uber seems to be a much more efficient ride service than the traditional taxi cabs within large cities,” Comez said.

Uber, which is based in San Francisco, is also located in Minneapolis, which remains the closest the services is to Fargo.

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