Smartphone car service Uber and UberX hits rough road, Detroit puts on brakes

(WXYZ) - Your next ride to a concert, sporting event or night out could be as close as your smartphone. 

Uber and UberX cars are available throughout Metro Detroit. The company has a popular mobile application that connects passengers to drivers of vehicles for hire.

But one Uber driver says UberX cars may not be safe.  Uber is like a limo or Metro Car.  It follows state laws that require driver background checks, the car is inspected once a year and they must have $1 million in liability insurance. 

UberX, part of the same company and smartphone app is cheaper and only does background checks on drivers, according to Khalil Refai who is a Metro Detroit UberX driver. 

He says he's a student who drives his own car to make extra money.  We are concealing the identity of the Uber driver who talked with 7 Action News Investigator Jim Kiertzner. 

"You're biting the hand that feeds you?" Kiertzner asks.  "I'm taking a big risk talking to you right now" the Uber driver answers. 

The issue of liability is playing out in San Francisco where a 6-year-old girl, Sophia Liu, was hit and killed by a Uber driver on New Year's Eve while crossing a street with her mother and younger brother. 

Detroit City Attorney Melvin Butch Hollowell tells 7 Action News UberX is not following city licensing requirements and Hollowell is issuing a cease and desist order.  Uber did not respond to 7 Action News.

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