Uber will be making its Tri-City debut on Dec. 15.
The internet-based rideshare company is making its service available to drivers and riders in Kennewick, West Richland and throughout unincorporated parts of Benton and Franklin counties.
“With the addition of Uber, we’re pleased residents and visitors have even more options to get around our city,” said Kennewick Mayor Steve Young, who is scheduled to be Kennewick’s first rider once the service goes live. “Multi-modal transportation is important for the sustainability of Kennewick, and Uber’s forward-thinking technology and business model is one more amenity that supports Kennewick’s top priorities of community safety and high quality of life.”
Uber pickups are not possible in Richland, Pasco or at the Tri-Cities Airport until further action is taken by the cities of Richland and Pasco and the Port of Pasco, according to a release from Uber.
Yakima County service begins Dec. 16.
Area law enforcement, including the Franklin, Benton and Yakima county Target Zero teams — who focus on reducing traffic fatalities — anticipate the positive effects of the safe transportation option, Uber said.
“DUI reduction teams around the state have worked with Uber to provide those who have become impaired a safe ride alternative available within minutes,” said Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg. “As we approach the holidays, we ask people to make the smart choice and choose alternatives other than driving themselves if they are going to drink.”
To kick off local service, Uber will offer half off rides — up to $10 — originating in Kennewick, West Richland and the unincorporated parts of Benton and Franklin counties from 4 p.m. Dec. 15 until 3 a.m. Dec. 17.
For those interested in driving with Uber, activation can be completed entirely online at uber.com/drivenow.For those who need assistance signing up to become an Uber driver, in-person onboarding support will be offered throughout the day in Kennewick on Dec. 15. Those who sign up online will be given details about in-person onboarding.
Uber operates in more than 540 cities around the world. Since arriving in Seattle in 2011 (Seattle was Uber’s third launch market, after San Francisco and New York), the company has expanded operations throughout the state.
“We are extremely excited that Uber is available throughout much of the state,” said Brian Gebhardt, regional general manager for Uber. “People in Washington wine country and beyond are now able to connect with a safe, reliable, convenient ride at the touch of a button.”
A Kennewick Uber launch event is planned at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 15 at Nomad Lounge, 1101 N. Columbia Center Blvd, Kennewick. The event includes big screen TVs to watch the Seahawks game, free food and a chance to win free rides and meet the Uber team. Details at http://t.uber.com/UberLovesTriCities.
“Uber will make the entire region more accessible, opening up additional safe and reliable transportation options for locals and visitors,” Gebhardt said. “Our arrival in both communities will also create more economic opportunity.”
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