Special Report: Uber Set to Bring Safety & Jobs to West Virginia


 The ride-sharing service Uber will be making its way to Wheeling.

Legislators passed a bill back in February, allowing Uber to operate in West Virginia. While Wheeling will not be the first city to get the ride-share service, lawmakers believe it’s high on the list.

“Obviously college towns like Morgantown, Huntington and Charleston will all have Uber right away, they are on the short list, but I really think Wheeling is going to be in the next phase,” Shawn Fluharty, Ohio County Delegate said. “Ohio has it, Pennsylvania has it, we are just this narrow strip of land between the two it makes perfect sense for us to have it too.”

Uber has become very popular across the country, mainly for its convenience. “If Uber came to Wheeling I would definitely use it,” Nate Starkey said. 

“A couple of my cousins from California say they use it and they like it a lot, so I would try it out,” Brandon Robinson said. 

How it works:

First download the app on your smart phone, create an account, enter your credit card information. Then you can request for a pick up at your destination. Your request is then be sent out to several Uber drivers who are near your location, so you are always guaranteed a quick pick up. 

While Uber may not be in Wheeling yet, you can help speed up the process by requesting a ride through your app. 

“It sends a ping to Uber. That’s how Uber knew West Virginia was a destination location, because they were getting so many pings from the Morgantown area,” Delegate Fluharty said.

Aside from the the convenience, it’s also helping to keep drivers safe by keeping those who have been drinking.

“In Allegheny County in the city of Pittsburgh, there was an 18% decrease in DUI offense in just one year after Uber was implemented,” Delegate Fluharty said. “Think of how many lives could have been saved or how many DUIs we could have cut back on.”

Many people ask though, doesn’t a taxi service do the same thing?

“I’ve waited for 40 minutes before and even then I called the cab company and they took the cab to the wrong place and somebody else got in my cab, so I was waiting like an additional 30 minutes,” Dylan Melotti said.

Something else that sets Uber apart from other transportation systems, it eliminates the in person cash or card transaction.

“In today’s society, especially with younger people on an average using it, the days of cash and credit cards are going away,” said Mark Thomas, Co-Owner of Ye ole Alpha. “I think there is going to be a point in the future, that there’s not even going to be people using credit cards.”

To become and Uber driver is just as simple. You just have to have a drivers license, pass a background check and having a vehicle that passes state  inspection.

Uber’s technology also allows your customers to know who you are, before you pick them up. “It makes things much safer,” Fluharty said. “You know that somebody’s on their way, how close they are, who the driver is, who is going to be picking you up, whether they are rated very well or not.”

The new legislation goes into effect July 1st. The first few cities to get Uber will be Charleston, Huntington and Morgantown. Wheeling, Beckley, and Parkersburg will follow. 

Our local taxi service out of Bridgeport declined to comment on Uber.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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