Uber On The Gulf Coast?


Many different areas along South Mississippi have discussed the possibility of Uber come to the Coast. How do residents feel about the taxi service now after hearing about Saturday’s shooting spree? News 25’s Kendra Turley has our answer.
A mother of three gunned down in a parking lot of an apartment complex, a father and son shot at a car dealership, a 14-year-old critically injured and three people killed in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant. This was all at the hands on an on-duty Uber driver. Kalamazoo Undersheriff Paul Matyas said, “We have somebody just driving around, finding people and shooting them dead in their tracks.”
Ninety-minutes before the alleged shooter, 45-year-old Jason Dalton, started this shooting spree, he picked up a Kalamazoo resident for a usual Uber ride. However, Dalton drove so dangerously fast that the resident cut the ride short and called 9-1-1.
It’s this type of scary situation that has some local residents skeptical about the possibility of the taxi service coming to the Coast. Ocean Springs resident Weldon Carter said, “Why get in the car with somebody that you don’t know and let them drive you around? You never know if they have other intentions to take you somewhere, beat you, let’s just say, rape you, anything.” D’iberville resident Jordan Gill said, “I think it can be very beneficial to the area but I read a lot of things about how it can be dangerous and there’s some crazy drivers that participate in it.”
Before even getting behind the wheel, Uber policy requires that all drivers go through a pre-screening process that includes both a driving and criminal history background check. According to authorities, Dalton has no prior criminal record and Uber released a statement confirming he passed the company’s background check. The background check requirement is one of the main reasons the city of Ocean Springs is on board in adopting Uber services. Ocean Springs Board of Alderman Bobby Cox said, “Background checks, you know that’s about all you can do to verify. I think it’s still not going to affect the service that they would provide on the Coast.”
But even with rules, regulations and background checks some Gulf Coast residents still feel getting in the car with a complete stranger is a risky ride they aren’t willing to take. “I’m still very against Uber because you never know what could happen with just any driver. I don’t even take taxis myself just because of something like that,” said Carter.


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