Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Push to Get Uber, Lyft in St. Louis Picking Up Steam Again [Corrected 06/02/15]

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Push to Get Uber, Lyft in St. Louis Picking Up Steam Again [Corrected 06/02/15]

Article excerpt

Scott Vance lives in St. Charles and is a full-time Uber driver in Illinois.

He picks up college students from Edwardsville bars in his Nissan Juke. He drops passengers off at the airport. Sometimes, he takes them to Cardinals games but he can't take them home.

Vance, 50, is an UberX driver, which means he drives his own car to pick up passengers using the Uber app.

People in the Metro East have been able to use UberX since late March, and they're not confined to that side of the river. They can go anywhere, as long as the ride originates in Illinois. UberX drivers cannot pick up passengers in St. Louis, where ride-sharing services are not allowed.

"I'm anxious for it to get to St. Louis so I can drive closer to home," Vance said.

He could get his wish. The push to bring UberX and its rival Lyft to the city is once again picking up steam.

The taxi commission could vote in July on a plan to get UberX in the city, said Chris Sommers, a member of the taxi commission and owner of Pi Pizzeria.

"It's something that every city we compare ourselves to, both large or small, already has," he said.

Uber says St. Louis is the largest city in the country that doesn't allow its service.

Sommers, who uses the services extensively in other cities including Miami and Chicago, has been working on his own and with Mayor Francis Slay's office to flesh out a new type of license for companies such as Uber and Lyft in St. Louis.

"It's a primary method of transportation for a lot of people in a lot of cities, especially for people we want to attract to St. Louis," Sommers said.

Those people include millennials and employees of startup companies, many of whom have ditched car ownership in favor of ride- sharing, he said.

Uber has received thousands of applications to drive in St. Louis and has dozens of drivers, many part time, on the road at a time in the Metro East, said Sagar Shah, Uber's general manager for St. Louis. He stressed that the company is committed to bringing UberX here. …

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