Uber looking to return to the Anchorage bowl

For students living on campus without a car, Uber would mean another option for getting from point A to point B.

“Uber would be a great improvement for kids that live in the dorms,” Robbie Granatir, a health science student said.

Uber, the popular ride-sharing service, may be coming back to Anchorage. After a short stint in the state of Alaska in Sept. of 2014 thru March of 2015, Uber wants to bring their service back to Alaska and is willing to work with local government and the department of labor. In 2014, Uber hired Anchorage drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees, resulting in a lawsuit. Uber paid the Department of Labor $77,925 in a settlement over a dispute regarding workers’ compensation insurance for Uber’s Alaska drivers. As part of the settlement Uber agreed to notify the Department of Labor to discuss further how the ride sharing service can be incorporated in the state.

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Uber, a popular ride-sharing service, is currently working with local government in order to return to the state of Alaska. Photo credit: Young Kim

Alaska is one of three sates, including Wyoming and South Dakota, where Uber does not offer their services.

Not all students are excited about the ride-sharing service.

“I do live on campus and I do not have a car. I do not feel comfortable taking a taxi. I would not use Uber if it came to Anchorage. I have used Uber once before and it was a bad experience,” Jenni Massey, a culinary arts student said.

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Currently, Massey has friends who drive her or she walks to where she needs to go.

“I know several people who drive and who constantly offer to drive me places, and I walk mainly,” Massey said.

For many, the introduction of Uber will be a well received alternative to Anchorage taxis.

“I would love to see Uber come to Alaska. It seems to be safer, generally cheaper than cab rides, and cleaner than cabs,” Jon Mobley, Anchorage resident said.

Mobley was eager to hear of Uber’s pending arrival after a recent experience with a ride in an Anchorage taxi cab.

“[The driver] was obnoxious, prejudicial. He made sexist remarks about the elderly, women, homosexuals. Attacking of homosexuals. Sexual exploitation of lesbian couples and women in general,” Mobley said. “Yeah, he said two guys were in his cab, saw them kiss in the rear view mirror, slammed on his brakes and held out his elbow so he would hit them. Then sped up, stopped in the middle of Minnesota Drive, cleared the fare and kicked them out in the middle of the night. No way. I feel Uber would have fair easy-going, normal people.”

Whether you’re a student without a car, or want a safer, more-reliable ride, the possibility of Uber may be what some Anchoragites are looking for.

Uber is in the early stages of working with local government on getting the ride-sharing service back to Anchorage.