Live in Houma or Thibodaux?
Want a ride somewhere quick?
Uber is finally here to help.
House Bill 575 was signed into law last month by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. It changed ridesharing laws in Louisiana to allow everyone in the state to use the services. Previously, just users in the largest cities had access to Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing services.
Uber services will be available in all of Louisiana effective tomorrow (July 3).
Gov. Edwards said last month that the bill's passage marked a bright day for Louisiana.
Trevor Theunissen, Director of Public Affairs for Uber South, agreed and said the expansion will be good for the people in the area.
"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,” Theunissen said. “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.”
The law's passage also marks an economic boost to Southeast Louisiana. Uber operates using civilians as drivers. The drivers must pass a vehicle inspection before getting approval to drive. They must also pass a background check and have a clean driving record.
Drivers are paid for their work based on how many miles they drive.
Houma native Richard Landry said he's been waiting for the laws to change locally so that he could pursue being an Uber driver as a part-time career.
"It's a great way to make easy money," Landry said. "I'm so excited to be able to chase that now that people in Houma are able to use the service."
Gov. Edwards signed the bill last month on the campus of Nicholls State University. During the bill's signing, he touted how big it would be to students at Nicholls, who could now get rides around Thibodaux safely without ever having to use their own vehicle.
Edwards also touted the work of local State Rep. Tanner Magee, who authored the bill and fought it through completion. It passed both the Senate and House easily at the 2019 Legislative Session.
Magee said the bill will make local roadways safer, because now, workers have the ability to get designated drivers when they're out in public and have had too much to drink.
"We welcome Uber’s expansion throughout Louisiana to meet the needs of our residents and visitors," Magee said. "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."
“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,” added Valerie Cox, Program Director for MADD Louisiana. “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.”
Louisiana Uber Driver Victor Silvio said he, too, is excited for the passage to take place.
Silvio said for him, the issue hits close to home.
“For years, I have advocated for a statewide rideshare law in honor of my son Christopher, who was killed by a drunk driver,” Silvio said. “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.”