Uber pushes up launch date for Columbus

Uber to launch Tuesday in Columbus.
Uber to launch Tuesday in Columbus. Associated Press

Popular transportation company Uber has moved its Columbus launch up one day to begin services locally on Tuesday.

The San Francisco-based company has called an 11: 30 news conference on Tuesday in which Mayor Teresa Tomlinson is scheduled to take the first ride.

After a phone conference with city officials earlier this month, Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin said the service would be available on Wednesday, based on information she got from an Uber executive, Nick Juliano.

In 2015, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation that to allow Uber to move into Georgia markets through statewide regulation. The company must purchase a local business license in order to operate, but that is the extent of the local control, Goodwin said.

Uber is currently operating in the Atlanta, Athens, Macon and Savannah markets in Georgia. Last month, Uber launched in Auburn, Ala.

During their conference call, Goodwin said an executive told her that the company had already lined up a number of drivers in the Columbus market. Those drivers would be independent, third-party agents who must pass national background checks.

They will use private vehicles, just as they do in other markets, Goodwin said on Sept. 1.

“We have been told that none of the vehicles will be older than nine years old,” she said.

Customers can order Uber rides through a cellphone app by setting a pickup location. Once you set your location, the app searches for a nearby driver to pick you up. Drivers are paid through the apps and prices can vary depending on demand.

Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510, @chuckwilliams