There is now another option besides taxis and buses to motor around Little Rock but it may not be legal. The ride-sharing service Uber began operations in Little Rock Thursday. It connects would-be passengers and drivers using personal cars through a mobile app.
In recent months the city of Little Rock has been crafting a new ordinance to regulate Uber’s operation with their input.
However, Dave Barmore, a public policy associate with Uber, said the company chose not to wait on the city to finish their ordinance because it didn’t want to miss out on upcoming Clinton Library festivities.
“I think it’s timely with the 10 year anniversary celebrations that are coming up next week that we can ensure that people have that safe and reliable option. That is ultimately why we decided we couldn’t wait any longer and we decided to launch,” said Barmore.
He argued the company doesn’t need the city’s approval.
“It’s actually not a car service. What Uber is, is we are a technology company. We are the platform that is connecting riders and drivers all around the world,” said Barmore.
Opponents of Uber say it operates much like an illegal taxi operation and fails to provide the same level of protection to customers and drivers as regulated taxi franchises. Uber has opened in other cities nationwide at times to the objections of local government.
The city of Little Rock has not yet determined its response but has called the service illegal. Uber is also operating against the legal determination of officials in Fayetteville. In that city drivers are ticketed and Uber has footed the bill for some of those drivers.