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Uber in Nevada: What’s at stake?


In cities like New York and San Francisco (and major metro areas around the world), Uber is a staple. It’s how people move from Point A to Point B in major cities where cars aren’t as common.

In cities like Reno and Las Vegas, it’s not as easy to get around without a car.

On October 24, 2014 Uber launched itself in Reno and Las Vegas, but it was not to be. Nevada state regulators tried to shut down the transportation service, essentially denying millions of Nevadans access to this type of transportation.

According to Uber’s website, the company seamlessly connects drivers to riders at the touch of a button using the smartphone app (available for iOS, Android, and Windows), making cities more accessible by giving riders more options and creating more business for drivers.

Uber works quite simply. Using the smartphone app, allow the GPS to find your location. Once it does, select your preferred car type and Uber finds the nearest driver. Because the service doesn’t require a reservation, you can grab a ride whenever you need to go somewhere.

There’s also UberPOOL, which allows one person to request a ride for up to two people at once. The service can also take you to the airport.

Unfortunately, the ridesharing service, which has been operating in Nevada for less than ten days, was shut down almost immediately by the Nevada Transportation Authority and the Nevada Taxicab Authority, whose authorities wore masks and worked undercover while citing drivers and impounding their vehicles.

This is all because the taxicab companies in Reno and Las Vegas feel Uber is going to detract from their business for a couple of reasons. Uber is often cheaper than a taxi, depending on a rider’s destination. Uber can pick up and drop off anywhere while cabs have to pick up and drop off at a specific location, especially in Las Vegas, where the demand for cabs is much higher.

Uber doesn’t feel like they’re doing anything wrong because they view themselves as a technology platform connecting riders to drivers. They do not see themselves as a transportation company and state their drivers are independent contractors, who sign a contract enabling them to use the company’s app and allows for electronic payments from passenger to driver.

Unfortunately, for all their efforts to provide a good service, Uber isn’t actually legal in Nevada, according to the Nevada Department of Business and Industry. There will be a hearing in Clark County tomorrow to determine what will happen to the ridesharing program. The company is currently barred from providing their service in the state of Nevada until the results of the hearing come down, but that may not be tomorrow, depending what happens in court.

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