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Driver wants to expand Uber in Marshalltown

T-R PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM Adam Larson shows his Kia which he uses to transport Uber passengers around. Thoroughly enjoying his job, he hopes to increase Marshalltown’s awareness of Uber’s presence.

Not a lot of Marshalltown residents look to Uber for transportation, but the service is here.

Uber driver Adam Larson has been trying to determine the level of community interest in the driving service.

“It would be nice to have here,” Larson said.

Working as a driver is something he has specialized in for six years. Prior to Uber, he worked for SafeRide, a non-emergency medical transportation system. Larson, a Marshalltown native, primarily drives passengers in Ames and Des Moines, averaging 15 to 25 rides per day, but would love to spend more time in his hometown.

“I’ve worked up to 10 hours with 30 rides in a day,” he said. “My best day was $376. When you’re driving independently, that’s a good day. That’s more than $100,000 a year if you can keep it up.”

Larson’s experience as an independent contractor driver has been overwhelmingly positive. He said passengers are usually thankful and appreciative. It gives him a chance to meet new people and the freedom to make his own schedule.

“I enjoy it,” Larson said. “Driving one person, one party at a time, I love it.”

He believes the Marshalltown market is good for the Uber service, and he bases that off of personal experience. Larson previously worked a third shift and had to walk home in the snow. He called for rides from the available transportation companies but was told his pick-up time was unknown due to an excess of passengers.

“They said it might be one hour, it might be two hours,” Larson said. “In Marshalltown, for a person who is sitting there, that’s hard to hear. So it’s nice to have independent drivers around.”

Getting word out about Uber in Marshalltown has proven to be difficult, even though Larson has garnered interest. He heard of a resident who had to wait for an hour for a Newton Uber driver to pick her up here.

The Uber work is great for people who create their own schedule and want to earn some extra money. He said people can drive part time or make hundreds of dollars per week.

“There’s people here who want to use it,” Larson said. “There’s just not enough drivers. The drivers who are here might get one ride in a day. It’s not something you could do full time at this point.”

He said Uber, which passengers can primarily access through the smartphone app, is somewhat different from other transportation companies, as multiple passengers or parties are not together in the back of the vehicle.

“We don’t pack four to five people in a car,” Larson said. “You’re not going to jump into a cab where there’s three other people you have to climb over without knowing you would share a ride and be juggled around.”

Knowing what it is like to walk home in an Iowa winter, he believes the colder season would be a busy time for Uber drivers in Marshalltown.

“People don’t want to walk to the grocery store four miles away because it’s 40 below zero,” Larson said. “You can have a warm car pick you up and take you there.”

Another aspect that sets Uber apart is the fact that there is no shut-down time. After the Marshalltown bars close, Larson said there isn’t a lot of transportation available.

“That makes no sense to me,” he said. “That’s primarily what I do now is work overnight. It’s busier than the daytime. Just because of all the places that shut down when people need rides at 2 a.m., I would think Marshalltown could support it, definitely.”

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Contact Lana Bradstream

at 641-753-6611 ext. 210 or

lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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