By Onaja Waki
The friendly ride sharing app Uber is now available in Arcata giving Humboldt State students and locals the opportunity to sign up as drivers or request rides. With Uber being a fairly new transportation system, news is still getting around that it is being offered. For those in need of a ride in Arcata, drivers are on standby.
“An uber is cheaper than an DUI.” HSU student and Uber driver Joseph Marmolejo Said.
Marmolejo recently joined the Uber driving team here in Arcata prior to spring break. He signed up with Uber to help him with his car expenses as well as provide rides to other HSU students.
“Essentially Uber is helping me with my car payments, that’s why I started driving…I started the Monday before spring break. March 6 I believe,” Marmolejo said. “I knew there wasn’t many drivers up here, and mostly students need rides. Plus I didn’t want students to drink and drive.”
As a student and Uber driver Marmolejo manages to balance school and work. Uber driving is an easy process for him, and he likes the pay.
“Yes! [Uber driving is] Very flexible, I’m taking 19 units so it works with my schedule,” Marmolejo said. “I just turn on the app, tell it I’m online, the signal goes out to everyone on the app, and within 3 sec you have a request. But it’s not that fast all the time.”
Although Uber takes a portion of the drivers’ money, Marmolejo still feels that he makes pretty good money.
“I get 80 percent and Uber takes 2o percent. For example I had a ride from Manila to Eureka then back to campus, and the rider paid $14. So I got $12 out of that,” Marmolejo said.
Being that Marmolejo is a relatively new driver he hasn’t had any out of the ordinary experiences with any riders yet. But he still wants to take extra precautions for any accidents that may happen in the car with a rider.
“I’ve been thinking about putting plastic in my back seat in case of any accidents. Somebody was also telling me to get pepper spray, mace, and a dash cam for safety reasons,” Marmolejo said .
Students like Reggie McGrue who have taken an Uber more than once recalls his experiences with the drivers to be relatively well.
“It’s hella convenient and cheap,” McGrue said. “Like $5 and some change from my house to library circle[about 10 minutes]. I had three different drivers…one was older, one was a firefighter and the other one was driving as a second job. All local people from Humboldt- nice cars too.”
HSU student Leylah Teal, also a user of the Uber app, says her rides are always comfortable. During most of her rides she was able to chose the music or plug up her phone to the drivers AUX cord, and listen to her music.
“I’ve taken an Uber a few times just to get around town, and maybe sometimes to go to Eureka, and almost like every time I was able to ride to favorite songs. It makes the rides that much more chill,” Teal said. “I wasn’t all weirded out by none of the Uber drivers I’ve had; at least not yet!”