Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Uber Plans to Recruit 2,000 Drivers in St. Louis

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Uber Plans to Recruit 2,000 Drivers in St. Louis

Article excerpt

Uber says it plans to recruit 2,000 local drivers in its first year in the St. Louis area that is, if it gets the go-ahead to operate.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission is mulling changes to its code to allow UberX, one of the services offered by Uber Technologies Inc., to operate here; a vote is expected July 29.

In the final days before that vote, the San Francisco ride-hailing service heralded the economic opportunities it would bring to the area. The company presented its view in a news conference and recruiting event Tuesday held with the St. Louis City NAACP, the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE), and Ferguson 1000, a group focused on improving minority job opportunities.

St. Louis is the largest metropolitan area in the country not to allow UberX, an app-based ride-hailing service in which drivers use their own cars to ferry passengers.

Uber can help minority households earn income from their vehicles, and the earning potential would help reduce crime and improve neighborhoods, said Cedric Clarkson, a vice president of the St. Louis City NAACP.

"Transportation options can be few and far between, which creates additional barriers to employment," Clarkson said of some neighborhoods.

He said companies such as UberX pick up passengers in communities that traditional taxis "have for years failed to adequately serve."

Drivers keep 80 percent of the fares they earn, said Sagar Shah, St. Louis general manager for Uber.

UberX estimates drivers in the St. Louis area would earn $15 to $20 an hour. It also says more than 40,000 people a month open their Uber apps here looking for rides, even though rides aren't being offered.

But issues in getting UberX launched linger. One remaining dispute is a requirement being considered by the taxi commission that would mandate Uber drivers to be fingerprinted as part of a criminal background check. …

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