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Uber Ride-Sharing Launches In Bloomington

The popular ride-sharing app Uber launched in Bloomington on Thursday as part of an expansion into college towns.

Uber drivers must sign up and pass a background check.

Photo: FLickr

Uber drivers must sign up and pass a background check.

The ride sharing service and mobile app Uber is launching in Bloomington as part of an expansion into college towns.

The division that will be in Bloomington is called UberX and matches up riders with drivers in their proximity.

It then allows them to order, track and pay for their ride all on their cellphone. Anyone can be a driver, so long as they are at least 23 years old, drive a car that’s no older than 10 years old, and pass a background check.

This week marked Uber’s launch in 22 college towns across the country and to celebrate, UberX is offering up to 5 free rides for customers through the end of Labor Day Weekend.

Pooneet Kant, the general manager for regional expansion, says he believes the service will be in high-demand.

“The simple fact is that over these past few months we’ve seen thousands of residents of these towns opening the Uber app to see if services were there and so we couldn’t be more excited to bring that service to all these cities,” Kant says.

Not everyone is excited about this expansion, however. “Who’s Driving You?” is a nationwide public safety initiative that works to spread awareness on the dangers of ride-sharing companies such as UberX.

Spokesperson Dave Sutton says their primary concerns with these companies are inadequate insurance policies and background checks.

“There have been 20 American states, plus the District of Columbia, and now most recently the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that have issued warnings,” Sutton says.

Sutton says the insurance issue is particularly concerning in college towns where many drivers are still on their parents’ insurance.

The City of Bloomington is researching legal concerns at this time.

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