Uber drivers seek more traction in city

Britain Uber

An Uber App is displayed on a phone.


Staff Writer

Sunday, March 25, 2018

For people in Rocky Mount without access to a car or in a situation in need of a ride, Uber is now an option, as the popular ride-sharing App has made its presence in the city official. The trick now, as drivers can attest, is getting the word out. 

Its move to Rocky Mount happened recently, though multiple requests for comment from both Uber and city officials were not answered. A tweet from Uber’s verified support account confirmed its availability here as of Dec. 18, 2017.

One Uber driver in Rocky Mount, Jerome, who preferred to go by his first name only, said he discovered and started using it within the last three weeks. Another, Collin Greenidge, became aware of it within the last month.

But both drivers, who are residents of Rocky Mount, agree: So far, both rides, drivers and exposure have been scarce.

“For me it’s slow. Because there isn’t that many drivers in the area yet. Not a lot of people know about it. It’s not widespread,” said Jerome, who has been driving with the App for two years in places like Raleigh, Jacksonville, Durham, Chapel Hill and now Rocky Mount.

He estimated he gets about five to seven passengers on a regular day, though some of that is split between Lyft, another ride-sharing App also available in Rocky Mount.

The most common pick-up locations and drop-off destinations, he said, have been DoubleTree and other hotels in the area along Winstead Avenue for people travelling through work, plus the breweries and bars on the weekends at the Rocky Mount Mills.

Among the customers he has gotten, there’s been a common comment.

“Most of the people when riding say that it’s way better than the local cab options,” Jerome said. “Price, convenience, quality — there’s no comparison.”

Greenidge, who estimated three or four riders on a weekday and a few more on a weekend, said he didn’t have a single customer for his first three days using the App. Since it’s picked up, the most popular zone for him has been among college students at N.C. Wesleyan looking to head closer to the city center.

Greenidge, who said he uses the App as a way to make some side money on top of other employment, has taken to Facebook to promote Uber’s presence in the city, making the argument that the rides have been slow to come in simply because of a lack of exposure.

“People are hesitant to try, but it’s just like the service you get in Raleigh or somewhere else,” he said. “It’s a secret right now. That’s what it is. Once people know about it, we’ll get more rides.”