The City of Mount Shasta joined the ranks of much larger cities across the globe now that it has an Uber driver waiting to escort you to your desired destination.
Mount Shasta’s Dawn Chavez is the first Uber driver to offer rides in Siskiyou County through the ride sharing service. Users request rides through the Uber app, and no cash is exchanged – it’s all done online.
Chavez started taking ride requests last month. She went the first couple of nights without getting any requests, but after a news segment about her aired on KTVL News Medford and people began sharing the video on Facebook, “things definitely picked up,” she said.
Chavez will be servicing south Siskiyou County, specifically Mount Shasta, Weed, Dunsmuir, and McCloud. She will primarily be working Thursday through Saturday evenings, as well as other busy holidays in the upcoming months.
“I started Uber because I used it last summer in Lake Tahoe and thought it would be a great idea for our town,” she said. “I couldn't believe how affordable it was to use the service.”
Rides through Uber are about a third of taxi costs, Chavez said. “Also, when I asked around, I heard complaints about the hours and cost associated with other options currently available here.”
Chavez said she enjoys driving for Uber because she can make her own schedule. “I have another job and I am also a full time college student. I can drive based on my current work load or need for extra income.”
Using Uber is very affordable and safe, said Chavez. “Drivers and their cars are required to meet certain standards, such as background checks and vehicle inspections once per year ensuring both the safety of riders and drivers. To be accepted as an Uber driver/partner, you must be 21, have a 2007 or newer vehicle, pass a background check and provide a valid license, current insurance and registration.”
Although Uber will help drivers finance a vehicle, Chavez already owns a 2015 Nissan Altima, which she is using to provide the service.
She said Uber provides “one more affordable, safe option for riders to get around. When there's an affordable option available, people will be more likely to utilize such a service instead of drinking and driving, for example.”
She said 80 percent of her business on her first night was from customers attending a local pub to enjoy the live music.
“They were extremely grateful for the service and indicated that they may have just stayed home had the Uber option not been available... This service will also help other people who don't have a car or maybe their car is just broken down.”
Chavez hopes enough Uber drivers get involved to eventually have local coverage seven days a week.
“I know of at least five (people) that have started the process to become Uber drivers in the last couple days in the surrounding towns,” she said. “I believe there is enough business for numerous drivers throughout this area and I welcome all to apply.”
To learn more about becoming an Uber driver, go to uber.com/drive/requirements/
To request a ride via Uber, download the Uber app on your smartphone.