BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Uber will expand ride-hailing services across Louisiana this week thanks to new statewide regulations that went into effect on Monday.
Uber announced operations will expand to all Louisiana parishes starting on Wednesday. The San Francisco-based company currently operates in Louisiana’s largest cities, “but those in rural and suburban communities were previously left behind without one clear set of rules for ridesharing in Louisiana,” the company said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
The expansion comes following the passage of a new statewide rideshare law, which replaces the previous patchwork of regulations that prevented companies like Lyft and Uber from operating outside of cities where the service is specifically permitted.
HB575 was passed by the Louisiana State Legislature on June 3 and signed by Governor John Bel Edwards on June 11 after a three-year stalemate in the push to widen ride-sharing access in Louisiana. State lawmakers rallied around the legislation this year after legislators in rural areas doubled down on their support.
“We are thrilled to launch the Uber app throughout Louisiana, giving people in more communities the opportunity to earn money and request rides at the tap of a button,” Uber South Director of Public Affairs Trevor Theunissen said in a statement released early Tuesday afternoon. “We thank the legislators, businesses, Uber driver-partners, community leaders, and all those in the Let’s Geaux Louisiana Coalition for their work to bring ridesharing statewide in Louisiana.”
Uber says drivers in all areas of Louisiana who are interested in driving for Uber can go to uber.com for more information.
The state’s Department of Transportation and Development will oversee industry regulations.
Drivers in all areas of Louisiana who are looking to serve their communities and work on their own schedule can sign up to drive on the platform through the Uber website. New riders can download the free smartphone app and create an account.
Uber’s statement included a series of quotes from lawmakers and other advocates for the statewide legislation.
“From getting a safe ride home after a night out to earning extra money as a driver, everyone across our state will finally be able to access the Uber app. I’m proud of our work at the Legislature that paved the way for this expansion and look forward to Louisiana reaping the same economic benefits that come from statewide ridesharing as in the more than 40 other states with similar laws.”Sen. Rick Ward (R) La. Dist. 17
“We welcome Uber’s expansion throughout Louisiana to meet the needs of our residents and visitors. I’m excited for my constituents to finally have access to rideshare, which can decrease the number of DWIs and increase the number of jobs in communities.”Rep. Tanner Magee (R) La. Dist. 53
“There is never an excuse for drinking and driving – and now that more Louisianians will have access to rides with Uber, making the right choice is even easier. Drinking and driving is 100 percent preventable, but it’s just about making the right decisions. I am glad that Uber’s expansion will help people make safe choices in more communities across our great state.”Valerie Cox, Program Director for MADD Louisiana.
“For years, I have advocated for a statewide rideshare law in honor of my son Christopher, who was killed by a drunk driver. With Uber’s expansion, more people will have a reliable alternative to driving drunk and that means more lives saved. I thank all of our elected officials who supported this important law.”Victor Silvio, Uber driver
“We are thrilled to welcome Uber to Central Louisiana,. Uber’s arrival will strengthen the safety of our residents, help visitors reach more destinations, and increase the economic vitality of our small businesses. Access to rideshare is a service that citizens in CENLA as well as other smaller communities within Louisiana have long deserved and wanted – thankfully it is now a reality.”Deborah Randolph, Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce President
“Uber’s expansion is a win for the state, riders, and drivers like me. Tourism is so important to Louisiana, and I am always proud to pick up riders from all around the world and talk to them about our great state. Now, I can bring a visitor in New Orleans out to a city like Houma or Thibodaux – and they will then be able to get a ride back to New Orleans.”Gwendolyn Wallace, Uber driver from New Orleans