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Opinion: Please don’t leave me, Uber!

The loss of Uber and Lyft services in Minneapolis will spark serious safety issues.
Image by Noah Liebl
Alternative modes of transportation will be critical in post-Uber Minneapolis.

Uber has helped me get to and from a variety of destinations since the beginning of my college career. 

Whether it be driving me to my early morning lab that I’m always running late to or safely returning me to my apartment after a fun night out, Uber has always had my back.

You could only imagine the heartbreak I felt when Uber and Lyft announced they would be terminating their services in Minneapolis at the start of May, according to USA Today. 

This is a horrible decision.

Uber and Lyft services have provided countless customers with secure transportation for years, saving people from long treks through poor weather conditions and drunk people from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and making dangerous travels home during late hours of the night.

Alcohol-related vehicular accidents have decreased by 60% in some areas of the U.S. with the help of Uber, according to the Ellis Law Corporation.

Isabel Bach-Lefler, a third-year University of Minnesota student and Uber rider, is very disappointed to see these ride services leaving Minneapolis and is unsure of what alternative services are available to replace them.

“I think if something doesn’t replace [Uber] then we’ll see an uptake in DUIs and other severe weather-related injuries, like exposure,” Bach-Lefler said.

Increases in DUIs are also a serious concern, as they remain a national problem even with the presence of ride services.

Holidays and special events increase the risk of drunk-driving-related deaths and injuries, according to the Ellis Law Corporation.

Additionally, Bach-Lefler said she notices the amount of people who don’t bring coats out with them when they go to bars or clubs. This is likely because they know they have access to ride services that will comfortably get them to their next destination.

“I think we’ll see an uptake in people trying to walk home during cold weather without proper attire and negative impacts from that,” Bach-Lefler said.

Anna LaGrange, a second-year University student and Gopher Chauffeur driver, said Uber and Lyft are incredibly important services, especially in big-city environments.

“Any big city services like Uber and Lyft are super important to lessen drunk driving and things like that,” LaGrange said. “I think they probably save lives in that regard and also with poor weather conditions, preventing people from being outside for long periods of time.”

Sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Boynton Health, Gopher Chauffeur is a student-founded and student-employed ride program that aims to provide students with a free and safe option for getting home.

LaGrange said Gopher Chauffeur will likely increase in popularity following the exit of Uber and Lyft from the Minneapolis area.

Some downsides to Gopher Chauffeur are that its services don’t extend to the downtown Minneapolis area and it is only available to students, according to LaGrange.

Safety is always a concern when deciding how to get yourself from one place to another.

As a woman, I am particularly wary of jumping in the car of a random stranger and giving them access to my home address. 

Many women I’ve asked about this topic share similar sentiments.

“As a woman, it really scares me because of the lack of a safe, guaranteed ride home,” LaGrange said. “I think that [Uber and Lyft] services are super important for ensuring the safety of the citizens of Minneapolis. Not just women, but everyone.” 

Bach-Lefler said a safety feature she appreciates is the ability to share ride routes with friends and family, which she believes is a feature that most other taxi services lack.

“I’m disappointed in Uber going away because I don’t think taxis have as many safety precautions for women,” Bach-Lefler said.

As for the future of Minneapolis transportation following the termination of its partnership with Uber and Lyft services, it’s possible there may be increased use of public transportation.

“I think the bus and the light rail are good options, but they don’t run very late,” Bach-Lefler said. “I think about the subway in New York City and how extensively it runs throughout the city. We don’t have that.”

Bach-Lefler said she hopes this upcoming change will create an opportunity for taxi services to take Uber’s and Lyft’s place in the ride service realm.

“I hope that taxi services are able to create a better work environment for drivers,” Bach-Lefler said.

LaGrange said students should utilize the Gopher Chauffeur services provided to them when in the campus area and need a safe ride home.

As I soak up my last few weeks with Uber services, I think about why they chose to make this decision in the first place.

It’s important as a user of these services to recognize the work Uber drivers do to provide people with safe rides to different destinations.

Whether they are doing it to care for their families, to kill some time or to help those in need of a ride, they provide for our communities more than we probably realize and it’s only fair they are paid a livable wage.

Without proper exploration of alternative services, the absence of Uber and Lyft in Minneapolis will be a serious problem for those who rely on these services for safe transportation.

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  • Maddie
    Apr 5, 2024 at 3:18 pm

    Missed an opportunity to highlight the movement to get driver owned rideshares in Mpls. Download the Co-op ride app to show your interest in supporting the launch of this service in our city, & have fair prices for riders & fair wages for drivers!

  • JZ
    Apr 5, 2024 at 9:03 am

    For a lot of international students who goes home for months during the year, keeping a car simply isn’t that great for us. Sad they are leaving.