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DelDOT strikes deal to bring Uber to First State

Ride share company Uber will be allowed to officially operate in the state of Delaware.

DelDOT signed a memorandum with ride share company Uber Thursday, approving its operation in the First State.

The agreement establishes rules and requirements for Uber drivers, including background checks and minimum insurance coverage. Drivers authorized to use the company’s platform must also meet licensing and vehicle requirements. They will be prohibited from picking up or soliciting riders, even in front of bus stops, train stations and airports.

DelDOT spokesman Geoff Sundstrom says the memorandum is a positive move towards increasing transportation access in the state. It also lays the groundwork for more ride-sharing companies to operate in the state.

“It’s a good step forward for Delaware," said Sundstrom. "We’re a tourist dependent economy. We have a lot of visitors from other states. Anything we can do to facilitate transportation is probably a good thing for us.”

Sundstrom adds this will especially benefit to residents of rural areas and low-income residents who don’t have many transportation options.

But some are not pleased.

William Bishop, owner of Five Star Limousine in Dover, says he’s concerned the same rules regarding insurance requirements for cab operators won’t apply to Uber drives. He believes Uber’s operation in Delaware will create unfair competition because they’re likely to charge much less for fares.

“Tell someone you’re going to Philadelphia for $200 and Uber says, ‘I’ll do it for $100.’ Who do you think you’re going to go with? And do you think people care about our issues and problems?” said Bishop.

There are currently 64 licensed cab operators in the First State.