Professional drivers worried about ride-share apps around campus

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Students are settling in at the University of Arizona and it should be a return to busy business days for professional drivers around campus.

But James Knight said it's becoming more difficult to find fares for his limo because of ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft.

"It's almost as if school didn't start," he said. "It's so slow that we're having trouble just making ends meet."

An alum of the university, Knight said he enjoys shuttling students around and building a rapport with them. Saturday he made a few runs to a nearby pool party and passed some ride-share operators along the way.

"We have James," said newly picked-up passenger Anthony Distasio. "He's always quick, fast and good with customer service.

He blames these unregulated operators as the reason his business has dropped by 70%.

"People aren't calling because they're just clicking the app," said Knight.

The small-business owner said it's not fair to him and other traditional transportation companies that go through the paperwork and licensing for a taxable operation that's regulated by Arizona's Department of Weights and Measures.

While the work may bring some extra cash to the ride-share drivers, Knight said it's still missing out on local and state taxes.

"These people in their private cars are taking money out of the economy and they're not putting anything back in," he said.

Uber and Lyft were both contacted for a comment about their operations in Tucson. Uber provided the following statement:

Arizonans know Uber is the safest, most affordable and reliable ride on the road. Since launching in Tucson, we have received an overwhelming response from thousands of riders and driver-partners who appreciate the choice, flexibility and economic opportunity the Uber platform provides.

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