Uber attracts thousands in St. Louis debut

Photo courtesy of Laura Inglish/Instagram
With its debut in St. Louis over the weekend, UberX attracted thousands of passengers, including Instagram user inglish101 who writes, ‘Welcome to St. Louis, Uber! And thank you for the ride, Mohammad!’ | Photo courtesy of Laura Inglish/Instagram

Thousands of St. Louis area passengers rode with UberX over the weekend after the ride-hailing service launched local service on Friday in defiance of regulators.

More than 40 percent of the 5,000 local UberX trips logged through Sunday came during peak bar times — from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. — indicating the service was used by people who wanted to avoid driving drunk, Uber said Monday.

Launched in 2010 in San Francisco, Uber has long sought to offer service in St. Louis but has faced opposition from the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxi Commission.

On Friday, the Commission voted to allow Uber’s ride-hailing services with the requirement that drivers be fingerprinted as part of a criminal background check. The requirement conforms with state law, but Uber says it’s too burdensome for drivers.

Uber responded by filing a lawsuit against the commission, alleging violations of federal antitrust law, and immediately launched its service in St. Louis and St. Louis County. However, UberX appeared to operate without any law enforcement interference over the weekend. No UberX drivers were cited or arrested by city or county police over the weekend, police spokesmen said Monday.

Read more from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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