Uber-X starts operations in St. Louis area

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - After months of waiting, Uber-X got its first test drive this weekend in St. Louis.  Uber claims there were thousands of riders wanting to use its services.

Uber was first launched in San Francisco in 2009, letting you hail a car with a smart phone app. Drivers used their own cars to ferry passengers.

Since then the company has spread like wildfire through the globe, and is now valued at $50 billion dollars and operating in 58 countries.

But Uber faces major road blocks trying to break into the St. Louis market because of the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxi Cab Commission.

Uber says St. Louis was the largest metropolitan area in the country not to allow Uber-X. The problems centers on fingerprinting and drivers passing drug testing.

Most Uber employees drive their own cars, and are subjected to a background check. Defying regulators Uber-X took to the streets for the first time this weekend and says it transported around 5,000 from Friday to Sunday.

Uber says 2,000 of those rides came between 10 pm and 3 am suggesting Uber helped people avoid driving under the influence in its first weekend of operation.

The taxi cab commission says its drivers average 300 rides on weekends.

We asked Uber about their numbers and if they had the drivers to handle that many customers.

Today`s numbers come just days after Uber joined with riders and drivers to file a lawsuit against the metropolitan taxicab commission for anti-competitive conduct in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

The suit sought a temporary restraining order to allow the service to operate freely for two weeks.  But late Friday a judge denied that request.

We did reach out to the taxi cab commission for reaction to the weekend numbers.

The taxi cab commission calls requiring drivers to be finger printed is a safety issue.

Uber calls it an unnecessary burden for drivers.

Mayor Slay says he is not encouraging St. Louis city officers from ticketing Uber-X drivers.

But it's a different story in the county where Steve Stenger says drivers will be cited for violating state law.