When David Glover picked up Oklahoma City Thunder player Nick Collison to take him practice on Friday, the two helped launch a new, smartphone-based transportation service in Oklahoma City, called Uber.
“Im happy to be rider 0 for @uber_okc. Im excited @uber is here in okc. I use @uber all the time and I love it,” Collison tweeted. And as Collison was Rider Zero, or the first one for Oklahoma City, Glover was Driver Zero.
Glover, an Oklahoma City community activist who is involved in another tech startup, said he had an interview and filled out paperwork on Thursday afternoon as a potential driver for Uber. By Friday morning, Glover's car was one of the icons representing available drivers that people could see on their smartphones with the free Uber application. And Collison used Uber's mobile app to summon the ride that Glover provided.
“It's all just instantaneous action,” said Glover, who said he initially went through the driver application process out of curiosity to see how it works.
Uber officially began in 2010 by transporting passengers around San Francisco. After that initial test program, Uber's popular ridesharing service has spread to nearly 50 cities worldwide, including about 25 in the United States, said Nairi Hourdajian, who is in public policy and communications for Uber Technologies.
The company picked Oklahoma City as its next location because it noticed that people in this area were downloading the app and trying to request a ride from Uber but couldn't. And since the area is so spread out and car-dependent, it was a natural choice, she said.
“We're excited to grow the business in Oklahoma City and make sure there are rides available to any resident,” Hourdajian said. She noted that Uber is in beta testing here as it gets the service started and it will take a couple of weeks for a formal launch.