By Gina Guevara
Laredo may be a small city, but it has a big demand for public transportation.
Laredo is one of the fastest growing cities in Texas. However, public transportation is not matching the city’s growth rate, which causes problems within the community that are overlooked by commuters, hindering potential business opportunities.
UBER is an application that allows anyone with a smartphone to make trip requests. Not everyone has the chance to own a vehicle or the time to wait for the bus, such as El Metro, or a taxi. Instead of being charged by meter, UBER has a set price.
Laredo is an international city where the citizens of its sister city, Nuevo Laredo, highly depend on their products for resale; many times it is difficult for commuters to return.
Senior Diesel Technician and Laredoan Adolfo Casillas and his fiancée, Abigail Rojas, require a fast and safe method of transportation that will get them to their destinations every time they have to travel due to their job.
“We often see plenty of people walking or having to call a cab on a daily basis,” said Casillas. “UBER would be a lot cheaper than a regular taxi and it is faster to get from place to place,” he later added.
Rojas, having lived in Nuevo Laredo, knows firsthand the problems faced when having to cross the bridge on a daily basis.
“I started working at a place not so far from the second bridge and most of the taxis would charge me around twenty-five dollars every day just to drop me off there,” Rojas stated.
Another resident of Nuevo Laredo, Myrna Esquivel, also mentioned, “taxis take a long time to arrive to the bridge; that’s why I’m always walking.” She later added, “Being an older woman, it is difficult for me to carry many bags on foot.”
In addition, since Laredo is a small city, it is believed that UBER would not have as much demand as other places. There are larger cities where taxis are essential since the distances are longer.
For instance, when Casillas and Rojas used a taxi locally, they stated that more money was spent than when UBER was used in Austin, Texas. Here in Laredo, a taxi driver charged them around $60 round-trip, whereas in Austin they paid half of that using UBER even if their destination was farther from their hotel.
UBER was created to make it easier for those who need a vehicle to go to work, school, a certain event, or even just the store. There are many students who rely on public transportation, especially those who have to stay at the university and like to go out. Having an application that provides transportation even after midnight has reduced drunk-driving accidents.
Lauren Garza, a student from Texas A&M International University, stated “Some of my friends love to go out every weekend and I’m usually their designated driver. Having used UBER before, I think it would be great for them because they would always have a ride with just the touch of a button when I am not available.”