By Senior Airman Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
With busy roads, packed parking lots and the need for a designated driver after a night out, it’s no wonder why ride-sharing services are growing more popular with young adults in the United States each day. Little Rock Air Force Base residents are no exception.
A growing number of companies provide taxi-like services and connect passengers to drivers via smart phone apps. Rides can be arranged in advance or often on short notice.
Opening Little Rock AFB to ride-sharing improves the quality of life for Airmen, especially those without vehicles.
“We want to make sure that it is known that the use of ride-sharing services is an option on the base,” said Maj. Gregory Bodenstein, 19th Security Forces Squadron commander. “Once the ride-sharing driver meets our requirements, moving on and off the installation will be seamless.”
For those new to the concept of ride-sharing, when a ride is requested, riders use a smartphone to contact nearby available drivers. When a driver in the company’s system accepts the ride, the customer can see their profile, which includes a name, headshot, make and model of their car, a photo of the car and the approximate time of arrival. Drivers then often call or text the requester when they arrive and customers hop in.
Reputable ridesharing companies require their drivers to undergo screening processes. Currently, Uber is the main alternative to standard taxi services in the Little Rock area. Arkansas Uber drivers must pass a background check, driving history check and ongoing quality controls.
Just like any visitor to the base, ride-share drivers must still provide a valid state driver’s license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. Security Forces will then conduct an identity and background check.
Once the background check is completed, drivers have three ways obtain a pass to access the installation, according to Jeffery Bardsley, 19th Security Force Squadron plans and programs section chief.
1. Service members must come to the visitor center with their military ID to sponsor drivers in order to obtain a pass to access the base one time.
2. Service members can e-mail the Little Rock AFB Visitor Center from their military e-mail address instead of meeting the drivers at the visitor center building to obtain a pass to access the base one time.
3. Or, ride-share drivers can obtain a long-term pass good for up to one year. In order to qualify for a long-term pass, ride-share drivers must present proof of their employment by a ride-sharing service. If interested in a long-term pass, ride share drivers should call the 19th Security Forces Squadron Pass and Registration Section at (501)987-6338.
For more information on ride-share access to base, call (501) 987-6294.