Uber drought highlights transportation need in city

LaGRANGE – Public transportation has become an increasingly large topic of conversation in LaGrange recently, due to the limited options for residents in the growing city and few options along the lines of Uber or Lyft available.

Theneed was highlighted for some out of town guests last weekend when they took an Uber to the Jason Isbell concert at Sweetland Amphitheatre, but by the time the concert ended the few local Uber drivers were no longer picking up passengers and the Groome transport was long since gone. Fortunately, those visitors were able to find a ride home, but the need for more publicly available transportation was made clear with that lack of options to return from what the city expects to be an increasingly busy venue.

According to Uber’s website, the company has drivers in LaGrange under both uberX – which can hold one to four riders – and uberXL – which can hold one to six riders – classifications though city officials expressed doubt at the city being able to support the service on a large scale at this time.

“I think we are still a little too small for Uber (in LaGrange),” said Mayor Jim Thornton. “… We would be supportive of anyone wanting to start a business – an Uber – here.”

Leadership Troup is currently looking into public transportation within the county, but all plans are currently in the early stages. The county’s one public transportation system – Troup Transit – is limited to the older citizens, and the program’s federal funding would not allow for general public use.

Anyone who needs a ride from one of the local Uber cars can do so by contacting the driver through the Uber app on a smartphone. Lyft also claims to serve LaGrange as part of its Columbus region, but it is unclear how many cars from that service are actually in the LaGrange area.