Uber Arrives in Tri-Cities and Could Be Hitting the Road Too Soo - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Uber Arrives in Tri-Cities and Could Be Hitting the Road Too Soon

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KENNEWICK, WA- On Monday, we got word that the globally popular driving service, Uber, has reached Tri-Cities. After downloading the smart phone app, creating an account and requesting a ride, our Uber driver was here in 15 minutes.  

During our ride, we talked with the driver about the steps he took to become certified. Jonathan King told us, "I Googled drive for Uber, it took me to their website I went through the whole process I had to upload my license, registration and insurance and then I had to get a DOT vehicle inspection". Just under two weeks since he first started driving for Uber and he is already seeing success, "that first week that I drove I made $215 for the week". 

King told us, unlike other taxis, the app makes the entire process easier, "all I do is drive the app takes of the destination the pickup the payment, there's no sensitive information being passed between the riders and me". 

After the ride, we talked with Kennewick city officials about the Uber drivers in the area and they assured us there should be no drivers because according to the city no one is officially licensed, "there should be no Uber drivers in the city of Kennewick, there are no licensed Uber drivers at this time" said Mike Blatman, Crime Prevention Specialist of the Kennewick Police Department. 

According to the city, there is a specific ordinance that must be followed, "we do that for everybody in the city of Kennewick that is driving a taxi and since they're doing the same thing they have to follow city ordinances".

Gallant Government Affairs, out of Spokane, contacted Blatman in regards to Uber drivers in the area and in fact, on the 16th of November, Blatman forwarded the ordinance to them, "they assured us they were representing Uber and they would pass that along to them that these are our requirements". 

When we talked with King during the Uber ride earlier in the day we did ask if the city had any requirements on top of the ones required by the Uber website and he told us no. 

The city is very serious about having all drivers meet the requirements of the ordinance before hitting the road, "they're not employees of Uber, they would need to get a business license, then have to obtain chauffeur license, they would have to post information about you know who they are driving, there are a number of requirements they have to meet and they're circumventing those at this particular time". 

The city says the most important part of the ordinance is the background check to make sure that the passengers are safe when getting into their Uber vehicle.