Uber aims to reduce drunk driving


This past summer, Uber arrived in Hattiesburg.

The service conveniently allows people a safe and easy way to get around town. Uber is a transportation service that began in larger cities before hitting areas like the Hub City. The 24/7 service allows people to catch a cheap ride after a few taps on the downloadable application. A user gets the choice of his or her exact destination, and the driver chooses to accept the commission. Once this transaction occurs, the driver is there to transport the user within minutes.

The service supports people in need of rides during Southern Miss’ busy football or baseball games, during which the city’s traffic is heavier and getting around is a necessity. The service also aims to reduce the chances of drinking and driving by offering a safe alternative.

Health policy and administration graduate student Danny Nguyen said he uses the service for designated drivers when he and his friends are out drinking.

“I can see it becoming popular,” Nguyen said. “In a college town, everyone may have a car, but no one wants to drink and drive. People unfortunately do, though.”

The service became available in Hattiesburg, Oxford, and the Gulfport-Biloxi areas in July.

“Uber is excited to begin service in Hattiesburg – giving riders access to reliable transportation and offering flexible work opportunities for drivers,” Uber Spokesperson Evangeline George told WDAM.

Some students with cars are taking the service as an easy money-making opportunity.

Political science graduate student Jonathan Dennis previously used Uber when he was in Las Vegas and said its prices were as cheap as a public transportation.

“I do not know how it compares here in Hattiesburg,” Dennis said. “My roommate became an Uber driver to make a little extra money on the side. You go on the website and apply. Once they complete your background check and other paperwork, they contact you on when and how to start.”

Here are some of the typical rates Uber has estimated in Hattiesburg:

  • USM to the airport for less than $20.
  • USM to Southern Prohibition Brewery for about $7.
  • Glendale to West Hattiesburg for under $14.

“It isn’t very expensive, usually $5 at the most to go somewhere close from USM,” said senior broadcast journalism major Kiara Brown. “I have never used city transit, but I heard about it, and I used it to be dropped off at places I knew I would be at for a long time. I heard about Uber and I wanted to try it out. It’s very popular, especially during the weekends according to the drivers.”