Uber launched its ride-hailing service in Columbus, Ga., Tuesday, but the company still is trying to gain access to Fort Benning as well as East Alabama, which lies across the Chattahoochee River from Columbus.
Uber has begun working with DOD to gain access to the post, but as of yet there is no specific timeline to get permission, Luke Marklin, the company’s Atlanta general manager, told the Ledger-Enquirer.
“We have started at the top and are working our way down,” Marklin said in reference to the department.
The Georgia General Assembly passed legislation giving the state authority to regulate ride-sharing services, opening Georgia up to Uber last year. The company has started negotiating with municipalities on the Alabama side of the Chattahoochee to expand the service’s operating area around Columbus.
The issue of how ride-sharing services could obtain access to military installations gained the attention of Congress earlier this year. In its portion of the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill, the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee said it “believes more clear guidance from the Department of Defense may be necessary to assist installation commanders in their efforts to balance installation security and accommodate ride sharing services for the benefit of military personnel and civilians on their installations.”
The report language directs the undersecretary of defense for intelligence to brief the House Armed Services Committee by Feb. 1, 2017, on the rationale behind the department’s decision not to update its guidance on installation access to cover ride-sharing services. The briefing also should address:
- existing authorities to accommodate ride-sharing services at DOD facilities; and
- the level of engagement DOD has had with the ride-sharing industry, including any options discussed to provide more consistent access procedures across all defense installations.