Local News


Uber targets underserved community

Posted at 7:16 PM, Feb 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 14:06:54-05

Uber continues to make its mark in Las Vegas. The company hosted an event Saturday at the Doolittle Community Center, near Lake Mead Boulevard and J Street.

Executives are trying to reverse some of the flack they are getting from the taxi industry and show locals that Uber can transform their neighborhoods.

The room was packed with aspiring Uber drivers and current drivers who agree that the north end of the city is one of many neighborhoods neglected by the taxi drivers.

Uber’s General Manager Steven Thompson told 13 Action News, “Before Uber came to Las Vegas, 95 percent of trips started or ended on the strip or the airport. That means the locals were underserved. The 2.1 million individuals that live in Clark County were underserved and didn't have options."

There were no taxi drivers protesting at the event, but Uber drivers shared success stories and politicians celebrated the obstacles they've overcome, like convincing lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow the company to operate in Nevada without the same rules that taxi's face.

Drivers say there is still some resentment from the taxi industry, but a lot less than before.

"It was kind of rough at the beginning,” said Uber driver Tavon Campbell. ”It was a lot of negativity. Anything new is a problem first.  But I've noticed in the last month or two, a lot of the properties have welcomed us."

Campbell was one of the drivers who testified on behalf of Uber, reflecting on a time in his life that was filled with fear.

"I worked outside in blue collar work as an electrician and I actually had two mild heat strokes," he said



Tavon Campbell says becoming an Uber Driver changed his life after a respiratory disease forced him to quit his job.

Posted by Michael Burton on Saturday, February 6, 2016

Driver Rachael Richardson recounted having to close her family's business after her husband was diagnosed with diabetes.

“If you have to have the time off work all the time, healing time to have both of his cataracts removed was two weeks," she said.

Both say their circumstances left them with no way to feed their families until Uber arrived in Las Vegas.

"When I heard they were coming here I said oh my goodness this is my way out of pushing my body to the limit," said Campbell.

Richardson told 13 Action News, “We thought, wow we have the opportunity to call the shots. Drive when we want, how we want, even where we want."