UberX to offer free rides in St. Louis city, county over July 4 - KMOV.com

UberX to offer free rides in St. Louis city, county over July 4 weekend

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A man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) A man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) - Ride-hailing network Uber announced an offer of free UberX rides across St. Louis and St. Louis County over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend and quickly garnered the support of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

Uber, a car service which uses a phone app to connect riders with available drivers in their area, is not currently available within St. Louis city and county due to restrictions to vehicle-for-hire services by the taxi commission.

However, since the rides over the holiday weekend will be free, UberX will be able to operate, in what Mayor Slay called "a positive gesture that we welcome" in a tweet.

The free rides will be offered Thursday through Sunday and Uber will donate $1 for each of the free rides to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization.

In a second tweet, Slay implied Uber will soon be able to operate in the area regularly.

The main hurdle between Uber and the taxi commission is Uber's background checks. The company insists their background checks are thorough, but the commission wants Uber to require the same requirements taxi drivers must meet, including drug-testing and FBI fingerprint checks, for their drivers.

In late March, the UberX service launched in the Metro East, allowing riders from Alton, Belleville, Collinsville, Edwardsville, East St. Louis and more to utilize the alternative to taxi cabs and other traditional methods of transportation.

Uber is also available in many parts of St. Charles County and officials in the city of St. Charles plan to vote on a measure to allow the service within the city.

According to Uber, St. Louis is the largest city in the country which does not currently allow the service.

Uber operates in almost 60 countries across the globe and within smaller towns than St. Louis, such as Champaign, Illinois and Columbia, Missouri.

The taxi commission is expected to vote on changes that would allow ride-hailing services such as Uber on July 29.

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