Monday, October 13, 2014

Couldn't Find an Uber Ride This Weekend in St. Louis? You're Not Alone

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge Would-be riders couldn't find an Uber last weekend. - UBER
  • Uber
  • Would-be riders couldn't find an Uber last weekend.

When Uber technically launched its black-car service, Uber Black, Thursday, it was supposed to help end an all-too-familiar nightmare for St. Louisans: the taxi that never shows.

Instead, many riders who planned to use Uber found themselves out of luck this weekend -- the company's first weekend in St. Louis and the start of the NLCS -- when the Uber app showed no Uber Black cars were available.

Uber manager Sagar Shah called demand for rides "overwhelmingly high" in St. Louis, which was the largest U.S. city to be without Uber until last week.

"We've been working on this for almost a year now, so there was a lot of pent-up demand and a lot of people waiting for Uber," Shah says to Daily RFT. "That's one of the reasons demand was high."

See also: Why Uber Won't Look Anything Like Lyft When It Launches in St. Louis

Uber doesn't hire drivers directly. Instead, Uber liasons between riders and Metropolitan Taxicab Commission-approved companies that provide premium sedan services. Some of those sedans already had trips scheduled for the weekend since Uber's approval and launch came so rapidly, Shah says.

Uber has two options when it comes to meeting high demand from riders: partner with more limo companies to get more premium sedan cars and MTC-approved drivers into the Uber network, or launch UberX, the ride-sharing service where anyone with a driver's license could apply to be a driver.

Uber is already working on the first solution; the second is highly unlikely. Lyft, a ride-sharing, app-based company found itself embroiled in a lawsuit when it tried to launch in St. Louis, and there's no sign yet that city or taxi officials are eager to change the rules to allow for a peer-to-peer model.

"There's no such thing as an application for UberX right now," Shah says.

See also: 10 Important Sentences from the Judge's Ruling Against Lyft in St. Louis

So bad news for all you looking for Uber rides: As long as the demand is high and local transport companies are slow to provide sedans for hire, you may be out of luck when it comes to ordering a ride.

At least you'll be in good company. Here are eleven people who couldn't get Uber rides this weekend because there were no available cars:

She starts so excited, then ends so sad: There's nothing, but she keeps checking. Fail. This is one dedicated sober driver. Uber picked an extremely busy St. Louis weekend for its launch. Where are all the cars? Seriously, where are all the cars? No one wants to be compared to a St. Louis taxi company. We don't care what you say, Trevor Rosenthal, there are no cars available! Again, where are all the cars? But even when an Uber ride is hard to find, this guy still won't take a taxi. Here's how Uber responded to complaints about a lack of rides:

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at

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