Ride-sharing app expands services in Chattanooga

Ride-sharing app expands services in Chattanooga

December 16th, 2015 by Alex Green in Business Around the Region

Staff Photo Illustration by Laura W. McNutt

Photo by Staff Photo by Laura W. McNutt

A year after premiering its UberX — a low-cost, ride-share program employing everyday people driving everyday cars — service in Chattanooga, San Francisco-based Uber is now expanding its Scenic City services and rolling out UberXL, which boasts greater seating capacity for riders by providing larger vehicles like SUVs for customers.

"With room for up to six riders, UberXL is spacious, convenient, and low-cost," said company officials.

UberXL, while offering more room, also will be a more costly option for Chattanooga riders, though the costs can be pared down by adding riders.

"Whether college students are looking to split the cost of a trip or family and friends are heading out for a night on the town together, uberXL is yet another convenient, reliable option for groups of up to six passengers to share a ride," said company officials.

In this Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 photo, a woman leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. Venture capitalists poured a whopping $48.3 billion into U.S. startup companies last year, investing at levels that haven't been seen since before the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, according to a new report issued Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. The two biggest deals in 2014 were separate rounds of investment in Uber Technologies, the high-flying and controversial ride-hailing service, now valued at $41 billion. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

In this Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 photo, a...

Photo by Eric Risberg

A trip with UberXL from Signal Mountain to the riverfront, for instance, will cost around $24, according to the company's website. That's $12 per rider for two people, down to $4 per rider if four people chip in.

Uber estimates a ride from Northgate Mall to the Tennessee Aquarium with UberXL would cost between $23 and $30. The same trip in UberX would cost between $16 and $21.

The announcement also comes months after Uber, in April, saw favorable legislation pass through the General Assembly designating ride-share operations as "transportation network companies." The bill set operations like Uber apart from taxi and limousine services, allowing them to operate in the state.

And while Uber has been operating in Chattanooga for just over a year now — the company celebrated its one-year anniversary in the city by delivering free doughnuts in November — company officials are still tight-lipped about how many Uber drivers are in operation in the city.

The ride-share app's footprint did just expand to include Cleveland, however.

"We're excited to bring [UberXL] to the Chattanooga area and also expand Uber services to Cleveland, where many of our driver partners are based and residents have been eager for more transportation options," said company officials.

An Uber annoucement warned that app users may not see an UberXL ride option at first.

"Demand for rides will be high, so availability may be limited at times," said officials. "Simply check back in the Uber app after a few minutes to try requesting again."

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480.