Easier, safer: Ride along with an Uber driver on New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve was expected to be a busy night for Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers.
Lloyd Raines has been driving for Uber in the Anchorage area for over a year.
"Most of the people I pick up are going downtown," Raines said. "They don't want to deal with parking and are just out looking for a good time."
Revelers heading out for the night said the choice to hail a ride for the night was an easy one.
"Drinking and driving is not worth it," Justin Jones said. "What's $20 compared to a couple thousand, I mean it speaks for itself."
"I don't like to drive and DUIs are not fun," Brian Belcher said. "You could lose your job or even more. It's not worth it."
Raines says the nice thing about working for Uber is the technology.
"Most everything is done on my phone or the app," Raines said. "It's all interactive. I let them know when I am on the way and when I arrive with the touch of a button. They know how long it will take me to get there. Once I let them know I've arrived, they come out pretty quick. If they seem to take a while I just give them a call."
The user experience is a big draw for customers who use the ride-sharing apps.
"I find Uber easier to track then taxi cabs," Belcher said. "I don't have any issues with cabs, I just don't like going through dispatch on order to talk to the driver. It's easier to communicate with an Uber driver. It's kind of the way things are working these days."
Advantages of driving for Uber, according to Raines, are being able to set his own schedule and chatting with different groups of people.
"I usually try to get out one to two nights a week, mostly Saturday nights," he said. "I'll start around 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. and work until about 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. The extra money is nice, but it also gets me out of the house. Something to do, socialize a little."
The service has given Alaskans who use it a sense of security.
"It's definitely a safer bet," Jones said. "Always a safer bet when going downtown. It's been awesome since they came to town. It's really helped us out."
Many say, no matter the night, they'd rather be safe than sorry and when given the choice, they'll take the ride.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.
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