The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Uber celebrates its six-month anniversary in the Utica area

Maria M. Silva, Staff Writer

Uber just turned six months old in Utica, and the company took the opportunity to release user statistics for the area that include the most popular destinations.

Utica College was the second most requested drop-off spot, signaling that college students are frequent customers of the service. The Celtic Harp Restaurant & Pub took the first spot, and on the third spot, right after UC, was Village Tavern. Other popular destinations are the Mohawk Valley Community College and the Union Station, according to the Uber statistics.

Utica’s college community has become a major source of income for Uber, and Bethany VanBenschoten, the assistant director for college engagement, has received no complaints about the service.

“I believe Uber is a safe and inexpensive way for students to get around, or for some of them to make some extra money,” VanBenschoten said.

VanBenschoten values the fact that Uber provides services for certain students who choose not to drive, or are not able to bring a car to college for everyday use.

Senior Adrian Gerez, who has his driver’s license but does not own his own car, feels compelled to use the Uber service typically once a week. Gerez, like many other students, puts his trust in the service.

“It’s more convenient than using a taxi since you can request a ride from the Uber app, which is easier and faster,” Gerez said.

Compared to the statistics released by Uber, students’ first choice is not only UC but places where they can do their grocery shopping.

Kathy Nhi Dang,  a masters student from Finland, stated that she usually uses Uber once a week to get to Walmart, although UC provides free shuttle rides to the grocery store.

“Even though it is more expensive, it’s more convenient; you can get a ride whenever you want, and you have to wait a long time for the bus or the shuttles,” Dang said.

Uber seems to have taken over the business that taxi and bus companies used to rule.

Senior Lessly Ginin believes that students struggle with money and that they commonly look for the cheapest thing — like Uber.

This is helpful for college students, she said, but leads to more expensive ways of transportation that will experience a decrease of profits.

“Taxis and buses are the ones that lose money the most, at the same time, we (students) save up money,” said Ginin.

Gerez coincides with Ginin and finds the cost helpful.

“Uber certainly takes away consumers given that it is easy to access, and they offer the same fares as the taxi companies,” Gerez said. “Taxi services here were very ineffective and unpractical, but now Uber provides a far better service and better vehicles.”

VanBenschoten, however, thinks that while Uber has become one of the main means of local transportation among UC students, the service is only for short transportations.

“When students return to their homes that are out of our area, or visit friends at other campuses, buses, taxis and trains are still the best ways for students to travel long distances,” she said.

When it comes to college-run transportation, VanBenschoten does not think that other forms of transportation that UC offers through the Office of Student Living and Campus Engagement have experienced any drop offs.

“Students are still using Centro buses and our free shuttle service daily,” she said.

She stated that taxis are still one of the most requested means of transportation, and recalled continuing to see taxis on campus throughout the move-in weekend.

Based on additional Uber statistics, both drivers and customers in the community seem to be very satisfied with the service. Drivers have received high ratings of 4.85 out of 5, while users have received 4.9 out of five stars.

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