Uber came to San Marcos this summer and is making it possible for residents to travel in an innovative and accessible way.
According to the company’s website, Uber employees are allowed to use their own personal cars for the company’s taxi service.
Logan Nicks, political science senior and Uber driver, said he runs an Uber taxi service using his own car during the week. In the midst of school and a busy life, Nicks said he saw being an Uber driver as a way to make money while maintaining his academic schedule.
“I needed some extra money and I had just gotten a new car, so becoming a driver was a pretty easy decision for me,” Nicks said. “The job has been really enjoyable and I’ve met people from all walks of life.”
Brianna Gonzales, interior design junior, said she was nervous for her safety the first time she requested an Uber ride, but ended up having an “enjoyable” experience.
“All of my drivers have been really cool and there was never a point where I felt uncomfortable or scared,” Gonzales said.
Nicks said he had to send his license plate information, insurance and car registration to the company and complete a background check in order to become a driver. Only vehicles manufactured after the year 2000 are “considered adequate” for drivers to use.
“If anyone is ever on the fence with Uber, I would say to just do it,” Gonzales said. “It isn’t what people make it out to be, and it is a great alternative.”
When someone becomes a driver, they must use the Uber app to “go online,” which is a way for Uber to track the miles driven and routes taken by an employee, Nicks said.
“When you work with Uber, you aren’t really an employee, but more of an independent contractor with the company,” Nicks said. “The only real requirement is that you go online at least once a month.”
Nicks said he typically checks the app to find customers looking for a ride in the area after he finishes school for the day. He said the business in San Marcos has been “pretty good.”
“I’ve seen some crazy stuff with this job, but it has been a blast,” Nicks said. “During freshman orientation in the summer, I got a request to go pick someone up at the school bus loop, which was already weird, but I did it anyways.”
When Nicks arrived at the bus loop, he was greeted by six incoming freshmen who “piled in” the back of his car, “eager to explore” San Marcos for the first time.
Nicks said there are a large amount of customers before and after football games and tailgates. He said the riders are normally “pretty intoxicated” and looking for a safe way to get home.
“I’ve even been tipped with two beers before, but I made sure to drink them when I got home and not on the job,” Nicks said.
The Memorial Day weekend flooding created navigation difficulties for Nicks while driving.
“The GPS on Uber isn’t always up to date, so there were a few times I ran into dead ends, especially after the flooding hit,” Nicks said.
He said the clientele in San Marcos is more preferable than in Austin and the traffic is usually less hectic.
“Locally, you get a bunch of college kids, so the conversations and stories are always interesting,” Nicks said. “When you go to Austin you get a range of regular people and businessmen, so it can get boring at times.”
Gonzales said the addition of Uber to San Marcos is useful in her daily life.
“I don’t have a car so when I really need to get somewhere, I’ll call an Uber,” Gonzales said.