Thursday, Uber announced it is now serving Tuscaloosa and Auburn along with a number of other cites.
Uber is an online and app-based private car service that taxis people from point A to B. The company says they're aiming at the college market now.
"We place a premium on rider safety and we place a premium on reliability," Billy Guernier, General Manager for Uber Southeast, said.
"Both of those things are very good for cities and especially cities with big college populations and groups of people that need to get home, maybe after having a few drinks," Guernier added.
But Uber's online launch in Tuscaloosa caught a lot of people at city hall off guard. We're told told the city was notified this week but wasn't sure when Uber would start up.
On Thursday, city spokesperson Deidre Stalnaker says Uber doesn't have a business license, but will be allowed to operate and the city will be closely watching the company.
"The city will be reviewing Uber's entrance into our market and engaging the council about a policy direction that focuses on safety and ensures they contribute to the community, as we do with all businesses," Stalnaker said Thursday.
But on Friday morning, Stalnaker said Uber could not operate legally in Tuscaloosa without a business license. As of Friday morning, Uber still did not have a business license to operate in Tuscaloosa.
Longtime city councilman Kip Tyer says he has a lot of issues with Uber.
Tyner says Uber should follow the same rules as all the other transportation services in the city.
"They can't just show up and operate. They seem to be going about things almost underhanded by thinking they can just make an announcement and show up next week and start taxing people around the city," Tyner said.
Uber says the company is working with the city to talk about the license requirements.
A transportation service in the Tuscaloosa area is sounding off on Uber's Tuscaloosa announcement.
On its Facebook and Twitter pages, Crown Limousine and Sedan Services said, "Hoping the City of Tuscaloosa makes Uber follow the same rules and regs as other transportation companies. Not a fair playing field for us."
As part of the launch, Uber is offering five free rides to people in Tuscaloosa and Auburn over the Labor Day weekend. For more information, follow Uber on Twitter @Uber_Bama.
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