The Truth about Rhode Island’s Rural Rides
Since our launch in the Ocean State, Rhode Islanders have embraced Uber with open arms. Folks like Nathan in Narragansett told us how it used to be “extremely difficult to arrange car service or find a taxi in Rhode Island”—that is, until Uber provided an affordable, reliable option available in cities and rural areas alike.
Even though residents have been using and enjoying this innovative transportation choice, the state of Rhode Island is attempting to put a $40 minimum on any non-taxi sedan trip, no matter the distance. The only reason for this unnecessary regulation? Protecting the taxi industry from competition.
WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW
Let’s be clear: right now, Rhode Island taxicabs are not serving rural parts of the state. By law, taxicabs are not allowed to service pickups in the Exeter, Hopkinton, and Richmond territories. And the share of taxis per territory statewide means a significant number of Rhode Islanders do not have a reliable ride.1 2
What does that mean for rural Rhode Islanders? Many of Rhode Island’s rural towns are assigned only one or two taxis—if that. So if those few allowable taxis are busy in your town, well, you are in for a long wait for a safe ride home.
THE BEST PART
Thanks to Uber, residents of Rhode Island finally have a transportation option they can count on—in both metropolitan and rural areas. In fact:
- In just eight months, tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders have signed up for Uber—with one in six of those from rural areas.3 Nathan from Narragansett wasn’t alone in wanting better options in rural Rhode Island, and now Uber is the alternative that works for them.
- Since launching in September, riders have taken hundreds of trips to and from rural areas of the state. From Narragansett to Woonsocket, from Bristol to South Kingstown—Uber has you covered.
- And it’s not just riders that come from rural areas: drivers do, too. We have drivers hailing from three quarters of all the towns in Rhode Island, including over a third from rural regions of the state.
Our commitment to Rhode Island’s rural areas is clear. And over the coming months, we hope to expand our reliable coverage even further – just as we have in Boston, New York, Washington D.C., and over 100 cities around the world.
1RI Authorized Taxicabs with number of authorized Vehicles: http://www.ripuc.org/utilityinfo/motorcarriers/taxi_contact2_14.pdf
2Taxicabs by Territory: http://www.ripuc.org/utilityinfo/motorcarriers/taxi_territory_2_14.pdf
3For rural definitions and data, see USDA: http://www.ers.usda.gov/datafiles/Rural_Definitions/StateLevel_Maps/RI.pdf
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