Uber’s plan for free rides rejected

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Uber has hit a roadblock in its plan to offer free rides this Fourth of July weekend. The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission is stopping them because it is their responsibility to enforce state statutes on safety.

Those statutes state that Uber must agree to MTC's fingerprint background check, which is done by the FBI, as well as a drug test, and be able to provide proof of insurance for each driver.

Uber says they do a background check of their own but not the other things.

"It's unfortunate that the MTC is not allowing us to give free rides to people in St. Louis City and County who could be drinking and driving," said Sagar Shah, general manager of Uber St. Louis.

Neil Bruntrager, general counsel for the MTC, says he appreciates the “wonderful gesture” by Uber, but the company needs to adhere to regulations.

“…all we ask is that Uber follow the state rules for all vehicle-for-hire companies and right now they are not," he said.

Shah also cites that Kansas City, Chicago, and hundreds of other cities allow them to operate as they do. However, Bruntrager adds that Uber follows the rules in New York, which is the largest city in the country. Uber currently operates in St. Charles and in Illinois counties just across the river.