Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Uber Working to Get a Foothold in St. Charles County

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Uber Working to Get a Foothold in St. Charles County

Article excerpt

ST. CHARLES COUNTY * Uber, a ridesharing service that competes with taxicabs, could begin operating in St. Charles County before it's allowed in neighboring St. Louis County and St. Louis.

Uber executive Sagar Shah will meet Tuesday night with the St. Charles City Council to seek approval to operate the UberX service inside city limits.

Shah said Uber already is cleared to operate in other parts of St. Charles County. However, he said the company wants to wait until St. Charles gives the go-ahead so the service can begin countywide at the same time.

"Our goal is to have it this summer," said Shah, Uber's general manager for the St. Louis area. "We can move pretty quickly. We're excited. We're optimistic."

Riders would use the Uber app to connect with private drivers who use their own vehicles.

UberX began operating in Metro East areas in late March. Meanwhile, talks are underway with the agency that oversees taxi service in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Lou Hamilton, who heads the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission, said if issues such as insurance, background checks and drivers license requirements for Uber drivers can be worked out in a few weeks, UberX could be running in St. Louis and St. Louis County by September.

Uber says St. Louis is the largest city in the country that doesn't allow its service. The taxi commission has been wrestling with the issue over the past year.

But Uber's premium sedan service, known as Uber Black, began operating in St. Louis in October. It acts as a third-party dispatcher for existing sedan services in the city.

In St. Charles, city attorney Michael Valenti said the city's taxicab ordinance must be amended before ridesharing services such as Uber are allowed.

In other parts of St. Charles County, Shah said, officials have told him that no laws need to be amended.

"They've actually just said, you're free to start operating when you want," he said. …

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