Effective just a few days ago, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have banned ride-sharing app company Uber from operating within city limits.
Uber urged riders to contact Orange Beach and Gulf Shores city officials to discuss further the possibility of the company driving in the area, saying they are ready “to work with (the cities) to create sensible and regulatory framework for ridesharing.” Uber came to the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach in 2015 after opening up nationally in 2009. The company has been estimated to be valued at over $60 billion, but its success hasn’t been without controversy.
While proven highly successful and cutting-edge for more urban areas, Uber has forced many taxi services to adjust – which can be construed as a good thing. When the company announced it’s opening in Gulf Shores this past summer, the hastiness of the process echoed many concerns the rest of the nation has had. Lack of background checks, drug testing, liability, and a loss of business for established companies (such as Beach Buggy Taxi and A Cab) have drawn concerns about ride-sharing concepts.
The debate will continue to rage on until a more rigid system of checks and balances is reached. Beach communities have both positive and negative viewpoints about the service. Obviously, a healthy abundance of drivers helps prevent people who get behind the wheel of a car after a couple of drinks, thus making our streets safer. Plus, the ease at which to get a ride is a serious upgrade in customer service compared to waiting a prolonged amount of time for a taxi. But it remains to be seen if what happened to other resort areas will happen to the Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.
Take for example the Hamptons in 2015. The popular New York vacation destination found itself in controversy because New Yorkers flocked there for work. This added cars to the streets as out-of-towners saw greater opportunity in picking up big fares from tourists who are predisposed to spending money. The response from The Hamptons forced its Uber drivers to have an address in The Hamptons, which eventually caused the company to shut down operations for that area.
Maybe our area will eventually instill such rules to make the company compliant and more Orange Beach-friendly, but that’s beside the point now. It is now illegal to operate an Uber in our area, and doing so will result in a fine of up to $500.
Make sure to take a taxi before you drink and drive. Here is a list of Taxi services in Orange Beach.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to contact me at Century 21 Meyer Real Estate – Kris Powell if you have any questions about real estate in our beautiful part of the country.