Uber, Lyft can still pick up on Fort Sill for now
For now, drivers for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft can still pick up passengers on Fort Sill.
That's the official word from Fort Sill Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Director Brenda Spencer-Ragland after concerns were raised about an exclusive contract with a local cab company.
"Currently our contract for taxicab support is with Americab. We recognize there is no ordinance calling ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft the same as taxis, thus we continue to work with the contracting office at San Antonio on this issue. In the interim, Uber and Lyft are not impacted by the contract," she said.
Robert Sinner, a 100-percent disabled veteran who works as a driver for both ride-sharing services offered his viewpoint on the contract that gives Americab the exclusive right to pick up passengers on Fort Sill.
Sinner has been an Uber driver for approximately four months. He covers mainly just the Lawton area, but can also pick up passengers in Medicine Park, Elgin, Geronimo and Cache. He is not the only Uber driver in town. He estimates there are at least a dozen, maybe even two dozen or more, who periodically go online and offline.
"We make our own hours whenever we want," he said.
When he goes on the Uber app and sees that a number of other Uber drivers are currently active in this area, he switches over to Lyft because it has fewer drivers and he stands a better chance of making money. Sinner drives a four-door, four-passenger, four-cylinder 2017 Chevy Sonic. When he began, his rides varied from soldiers going off-post to mothers with children or people who wanted to go shopping.
"I do well. It's not as busy as Oklahoma City, but driving full time, 40-45 hours, I can usually make around $400-500 a week," he said.
This month, though, he ran into problems because of the contract with Americab.
"I was told by the gate guards that on Feb. 1, 2018, they released a memorandum saying that Uber and Lyft drivers were no longer allowed to make pickups on the (post) itself, that the contract for cabs was given to Americab," Sinner said.
MWR has entered into a contract giving Americab the right to be Fort Sill's sole taxi provider. If a soldier takes another company's cab from downtown, it is all right for that cab to come onto Fort Sill. But any cab other than Americab will not be allowed to come onto Fort Sill to pick someone up and do business. In exchange, a monthly percentage of the earnings will go to MWR, which uses the funds for quality-of-life programs and enhancements.