Uber hopes to bring 10,000 more jobs to Missouri

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JEFFERSON CITY - State legislators and Uber officials are hoping to get a bill passed that is designed to create 10,000 more jobs in Missouri. These 10,000 new jobs would allow people to apply to be Uber drivers.

Richard Estes, a local Uber driver, said he started driving for the app-based ride-hailing service in September 2015. He said it's good to drive for Uber, even though the work can be inconsistent.

"It really varies," Estes said. "When school was out, it was really slow, but you never know what day. Every day is different." 

Estes still said he's not worried about how the new jobs might affect him.

"I think when word gets around, it will kind of balance out," Estes said. "So, in the long run, it will be good for jobs. It will be good for everyone." 

A hearing for the bill took place in Jefferson City Wednesday morning. Rep. Kirk Mathews (R-Pacific) and Sen. Bob Onder (R-Lake Saint Louis) are sponsoring the bill. 

The bill's summary says the measure would establish state-wide regulations for ride hailing services, taking the matter out of the hands of local governments. It also addresses safety standards, licensing and revenue.

The bill sets high safety standards for all such companies, help protect riders with insurance requirements and ensure transparency for fees and payments through electronic receipts. 

Uber first launched Columbia back in October of 2014. However, the launch date was quite a surprise for Columbia. 

At the time, Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said the city just found out at the last minute the company was planning to launch.

The following November, the Columbia City Council presented potential regulations for Uber and other app-based taxi companies.

Those points included: Requiring Uber and other app-based taxi companies to pay a fee based on the number of drivers and have those who wish to drive for the company get a permit from the city. Uber's current regulations include filling out an application, going through a background check and showing proof of insurance and a driving record.

In January 2015, the city of Columbia presented the council with a high level analysis of differences between ride hailing companies, such as Uber, and traditional taxi services. 

In February 2015, the Columbia City Council passed regulations on Uber drivers. Drivers who wish to work for the ride-hailing company will need a valid Missouri chauffeur's licenses, allow the city to conduct a background check on each operator and get a safety inspection on each vehicle.

Uber is an app, available to download on a smart phone, to get a ride. After downloading the app and registering, the app pinpoints a customer's location, similar to Google maps. A customer registers by putting their credit or debit card into the app. This makes all payments for Uber electronic.

The location signal comes from one's smart phone. The app lets people know what the fare estimate of their ride will be, whether there's a driver available and how long it would take the car to arrive.

Similar apps include Lyft, Flywheel, and Sidecar. 

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