By Rebekah Martin and Morgan Bryce

Opelika is now one of 243 U.S. cities that Uber services.

The ride-sharing service, which started in 2009, allows patrons to request rides through a smartphone app.

Earlier this month, a similar ride-sharing service, Lyft, began operating in Opelika.

Evangeline George of Uber’s Public Affairs Department said she is excited to see the company expand into Opelika.

“We thank Opelika for passing a ridesharing ordinance in line with surrounding cities – and look forward to bringing safe, affordable transportation options and flexible work opportunities to the community tomorrow,” George said. “All Alabamians deserve access to safe rides across the state.  We call upon the Alabama Legislature to act next session by passing one clear set of rules for ridesharing – just as 44 states across the country have done.”

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said that the two services will not only bring more traffic to and from Opelika, but increase driver safety.

“Everyone should be concerned with people that drink and drive. For folks that want to come have some drinks and dinner, they don’t have to worry now about getting home safely, so that’s good for all of us,” Fuller said. “I think it’s going to bring more folks to our community, especially to our historic downtown. It’ll be great for our economy.”

For more information, visit their website The Uber app can be found in the Apple or Android app stores.