Hailing a ride in the Lansing and East Lansing areas is getting a little easier. The ride-sharing program Uber launched in both cities today.
"This is another sign that Lansing is on the way up that that we are more and more of a destination city Lansing and East Lansing," Lansing's Mayor Virg Bernero said.
Uber is a ride share company offering low cost trips that users can order from their phone.
"We're not trying to throw up road blocks for companies we're embracing the companies," Mayor Bernero said.
Ordering an Uber is simple. All you have to do is pull out your phone and open the app. Then you can see all the available cars in your area. Choose your pickup location and with one click, your ride is on its way. Users can they pay for the trip with a credit card they save on the app.
The program isn't new, the company already has services in major cities across the globe, including Chicago and Detroit.
"Uber has been controversial in some communities but basically we face a pretty simple choice either we can embrace innovation and make additional options available to our residents or we can fight it," said East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett.
One of the biggest concerns is regulation. Taxi companies must be licensed through the city and meet minimum safety requirements. But Mayor Triplett says both cities are making sure Uber drivers are regulated.
"Drivers will get background checks, vehicles will be inspected, there are minimum insurance requirements," he explained.
Many of the same standards taxi companies are held to, the only difference is Uber will provide those checks independent and not through the city.
"What's important is that we have regulations in place that will deal with public safety concerns," Triplett said.
Some cab companies disagree and have taken their side to the web, launching the site whosdrivingyou.org. Other local companies say they don't mind since Uber drivers have to meet the same guidelines.
"As long as they have their permits, you know they've been background checked, they been drug tested, so you know they're safe," said Patrick Reynolds, day-shift manager of Royal Express Taxi.
With a list of regular customers, Reynolds is not worried about any competition.
"There's enough business for everybody out here," he said.