Uber Is Now in Las Vegas

With the launch of Las Vegas service, Uber this week took yet another small step toward its goal of becoming the worldwide ride-share leader.

Uber, it seems, aspires to nothing less than world dominance. But with grand ambitions come high hurdles.

The company is fighting battles in many corners of the world, confronting such contentious issues as workers’ rights and passengers’ safety. And then there’s the pushback from established taxi services, which has ranged in form from expensive behind-the-scenes lobbying initiatives to rowdy street protests.

For every setback, however, Uber manages to take two steps forward, toward its goal of becoming the worldwide ride-share leader.

Uber’s latest success was this week’s licensing of its services, and Lyft’s, by the state of Nevada. Las Vegas, Reno, and Tahoe are prime markets for Uber’s service, which launched on Tuesday, the day after state approval was granted.

But, in keeping with the good-news/bad-news theme, the very same day that Uber service started, Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, rejected the company’s request for a temporary business license. According to coverage in the Las Vegas Sun, the county plans to implement a local business-license policy that would require Uber to pay fees of at least $100 per driver, per year.

If that weren’t complication enough, a legal opinion from state lawyers contends that Nevada law prohibits just the sort of regulations and fees proposed by Clark County.

A public hearing on the proposed Clark County ordinance is scheduled for October 20.

So yes, it’s complicated.

For now, Uber rides in Nevada are just a smartphone tap away. Note, however, that service at Las Vegas’s McCarran and Reno-Tahoe airports is a mixed bag: Drop-offs are allowed, but pickups are not.

One more step in what may turn out to be Uber’s journey of a thousand miles.

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By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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