INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Finding a ride around Indianapolis got a little bit easier this week. “Broad Ripple Express Cab” is now cruising the streets. But its competition isn’t just other taxi companies, there’s another one right at your fingertips hoping to cash-in on the weekend rush.
Fresh off the line, 20 new cabs are already patrolling Indy.
“This brings our total number of cabs to right around 850,” said Adam Baker, Communication Director for the Indianapolis Dept. of Code Enforcement.
Broad Ripple Express might be the new kid on the block, but it’s not just Yellow Cab’s drivers it will be competing with.
After a few swipes on a smartphone, an Uber ride will arrive within minutes.
When you get into the Uber, it feels like you are in a cab but there’s no meter, just a GPS. In fact, the “cab” is the driver’s personal vehicle.
“Sometimes they don’t like my air freshener and I can’t help that,” driver Chris Patton joked. “I try to do my best.”
Patton drives for Uber and shuttles about ten passengers around a day during an eight hour shift. He decides what time he works and where he places himself in the city. Getting his job was a lot easier than Henry Hane’s journey to starting up Broad Ripple Express.
“It’s a very complex process,” Hane said.
“I applied, like, on a Tuesday and by the weekend I was driving,” Patton told 24-Hour News 8.
The licensing rule between both styles of transportation is much different. Uber doesn’t need any of the city enforced licensing cab companies do.
“UberX and Lyft do not fall within that ordinance, so that’s sort of why we’re looking at them like a pilot program,” said Baker.
But that doesn’t mean Uber won’t screen its drivers.
“You have to pass background checks, then they inspect your car to make sure that it’s a well maintained working vehicle,” Patton listed among several other inspections and checks.
He maintains his vehicle with several car washes a week and hopes his clean ride drives business away from rivals.
“I’ve had someone throw something at my car, but I can’t verify if it was an actual taxi driver,” he joked.
“Just like any other industry, there will always be competition, however it’s a friendly one,” smiled Hane.
Baker said his office is evaluating how Uber works and that it’s possible the company could face regulations in the future.
Broad Ripple Express will primarily work out of the Broad Ripple neighborhood.
But unlike Uber, you can still flag them down where ever you’re standing. For Uber, you must book your trip through the app.