Uber Seeks to Connect with South’s Football Fanatics

SEC football fans heading to stadiums this fall in Tuscaloosa, Knoxville, Oxford and beyond may have the option of dialing up Uber should they need a safe ride after tailgating and the game.

Uber announced deals in late summer to operate in Tuscaloosa and Auburn and had contracts pending in several other SEC cities, according to the company. In some cities Uber was offering $15 off for customers getting their first Uber lift.

The ride provider on its website cites a study done in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving that suggests 78 percent of people said that Uber makes their friends less likely to drive after drinking. 

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In California, Uber’s home state and largest market, drunk-driving crashes fell by 60 per month among drivers under 30 in the markets where Uber operates, following the launch of uberX. That’s an estimated total of 1, 800 crashes prevented since July 2012.

Uber continues to struggle for profitability. While it’s not a public company, a shareholder conference call in late August reported on Bloomberg.com revealed that Uber turned a profit in the U.S. for the first quarter but worldwide lost at least $1.27 billion in the first half of 2016. The losses were blamed on subsidies for Uber drivers.

The fact that Uber has raised as much capital as it has illustrates that investors continue to believe strongly in its eventual success. Uber now offers autonomous rides in Pittsburgh — with an Uber employee at the wheel, just in case.

Text by Dave Helms

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