Uber car service coming to Eugene

Uber car service coming to Eugene »Play Video
Uber is up and running in Seattle

EUGENE, Ore. - Uber, a car service already on the streets of New York, London and Seattle, is coming to Oregon - and it's not starting in Portland.

Eugene and Salem will be Uber's first markets in the Beaver State.

That's good news for Ali Alshahiri, who signed up to be an Uber driver.

"I don't work, I don't work," he said of his job search, "and this is now my job."

To drive for Uber, your car must be no older than a decade.

All ride pickups are set up through the Uber app, which is available on iPhone and Android devices.

Once you've downloaded the app, you can request a ride by setting your pickup location. Within minutes, your ride arrives. And when you arrive at your destination, no money changes hands in person: it is already done online.

So why didn't Portland make the cut? It turns out Uber made a pitch for the Rose City, but city leaders didn't go for it.

Portland now has strict ordinances designed to protect the taxi industry.

In Eugene, local taxi companies don't believe it's a fair playing field.

"The thing that we would like to get across and that we would like people to understand is that they're in violation of city code," said Jay Mayernik, the general manager of Oregon Taxi.

Because Uber opearte using people's personal cars, the company does not follow city commerical vehicle codes regarding permits, inspections and insurance.

But Brooke Steger, the general manager of Uber in Seattle, said all Uber riders are covered in case of an accident.

"There is definitely $ 1 million worth of coverage, which is more than a taxi, from the time the driver accepts the trip to the time the rider gets out of the car," she said.

A City of Eugene spokesperson said the government is aware of Uber and plans to monitor the service.

"We're hoping the city makes the sensible decision," Mayernick said, "and that's that they are subject to the same regulations we are."

Steger said the city will see benefits from Uber's entry into the market.

"In Seattle, for example, we saw a 10 percent drop in drunk driving that was correlated to the expansion and launch of Uber," she said.