Florin Marksteiner. January 8, 2018. (Photo by Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent).

Uber Organizer Training Drivers In Chatham-Kent

A local resident is getting the ball rolling on bringing Uber to Chatham-Kent and wants drivers to hit the roads as soon as next month.

Florin Marksteiner is the organizer of the recently created Uber Chatham-Kent Twitter and Facebook pages. He says he is not officially affiliated with Uber, but officials have given him approval to create the social media accounts.

“This is a local initiative. It’s a group of people that noticed that Uber would be a good service here in the area. The affiliation is just collaboration in the sense of dialogue. I am not an employee of Uber and to be honest, nobody is an employee of Uber. Uber is a technology company that normal folk use to be able to provide the services,” says Marksteiner.

Marksteiner says the service is already set up for Chatham-Kent.

“Uber is available as a service in London, Windsor, and in fact, Chatham-Kent is under the Windsor area. The service is available, it’s just that people need to get organized… so I said ‘Okay, I’ll take the lead and organize the people,'” he says.

Marksteiner says he has spoken with many local restaurant and bar owners who say they have experienced losses in business due to a lack of transportation. He hopes bringing Uber to the municipality will address this issue and give more freedom to residents to choose how they get home.

“Right now we are organizing the drivers and we are starting to train the drivers. Usually Uber doesn’t train drivers. Because it’s a local initiative we want to train the drivers, so the drivers are comfortable and the riders are comfortable with the service,” says Marksteiner.

Marksteiner says he wants Uber drivers to hit the municipality’s roads soon.

“We intend to start somewhere around the first of February, because we want to help the people for Valentines — for them to be able to go out for a date and go out and feel good — not all the time measuring their drinks and being careful what they do,” he says.

According to Nancy Havens, the municipality’s manager of licensing services, the current taxi bylaw prohibits the use of private transportation companies like Uber in Chatham-Kent.

“We do understand that those hoops and everything are in place because they have to defend the taxi industry. As you noticed, the taxi industry is failing by itself, so Uber is coming to fill up a place,” says Marksteiner.

He adds that Uber went through the same legal challenges when it tried to bring its service to London, but now the
company is allowed there and growing in success.

“It’s not hurting the business, it’s adding to the business. A lot of times, to be honest, it’s so busy you don’t find an Uber, you’re going find a taxi. Sometimes you don’t find a taxi, you’re going to get an Uber. People are evolving and people are moving back and forth, just like internet providers, phone providers, and everything else,” says Marksteiner.