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Uber coming to Fort Collins, CSU RideShare facilitates carpooling

Uber allows users to arrange rides from private drivers through an app on their smartphone. The car service is expected to be available in Fort Collins by the end of the year. (Photo taken by Emmett McCarthy)

New ride sharing and car services are arriving in Fort Collins.

The car service Uber, which allows users to hail a private driver through a smartphone app, is expected to be in Fort Collins by the end of the year. CSU RideShare, a web service provided by the University to help students, faculty, and staff make carpooling arrangements, is already up and running.

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Uber is considered a transportation network company, a new classification of ride- sharing companies established by Colorado Senate Bill 125. Will McCollum, Uber’s general manager in Colorado, said the company is working in compliance with that law, and anticipates Uber to be available in Fort Collins by the fall.

“We’re in the business of connecting rides, and Fort Collins has made it very clear to us that there is an interest in having more transportation options available,” McCollum said. “With this legislation passing, we want to be a part of providing those options.”

The app shows users available drivers in the area, and will give an estimated fare quote. Users are billed through the app to their credit card, debit card or PayPal account.

Megan Jones, an upcoming junior wildlife biology major, said she has used Uber in other cities. She said it was a convenient experience, especially being able to see how close the driver is on a map, and that she would continue using the service in Fort Collins.

“Paying with an account is great, too, because you don’t need to worry about having cash on you,” Jones said.

To get an idea of Uber’s prices, the cost of using the service in Denver is a $2.14 base fare with additional charges of $1.57 per mile and $0.19 per minute for a car that seats four passengers, according to their website. The minimum fare is $5.70 and cancellation can result in a fee of $10.00.

Fort Collins Yellow Cab, according to their site, charges $3.50 for the first 1/9 mile or fraction thereof (essentially a base fare) with additional charges of $2.25 per each additional mile, $0.50 per each additional minute, and $1.00 per each additional passenger. Yellow Cab’s general manager, Todd Michels, was not available for comment.

McCollum said that the plan is to eventually have Uber available from Fort Collins all the way to Colorado Springs.

“We want to make sure that if there’s a ride in need on the Front Range that we’re the ones to connect it,” he said.

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The University is also lending a hand in connecting riders through a new program called CSU RideShare.

CSU RideShare is a web service offered by Off-Campus Life at CSU to help students, faculty, and staff make carpool arrangements “quickly and securely,” according to the website. To login at rideshare.colostate.edu, all you need is your eName and ePassword. Users can offer or request a ride and make carpooling arrangements with other users.

The goal of CSU RideShare, according to the website, is “to help users find rides, save money, reduce pollution and traffic congestion, and encourage GREENER transportation choices.”

Alongside these two new transportation services, Transfort has been a place people turn to for a ride. According to Timothy Wilder, service development manager for Transfort, the number of people choosing public transportation has increased recently.

That means more and more people are looking for different ways to travel, and it’s up to the community to provide options,” Wilder said.

Collegian reporter, Emmett McCarthy can be reached at news@collegian.com

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