Earlier this year, local stakeholders made a push for Uber to come to Monroe County.
So far, that effort has not gained much traction. The ride-sharing company still does not offer services in the county. Uber will transport riders from outside the area into Monroe County, but does not pick up riders here.
One of the ways locals have been trying to woo Uber is with a petition started by Waterloo resident Mary Beard.
Beard wrote a report to help persuade Uber, listing five reasons the company would be beneficial to the county:
• Help people get home safely after a night of drinking
• Help those with medical conditions with their transportation needs
• Help those with other disabilities who are not permitted or able to drive
• Help the aging population travel
• Help adults of all ages earn extra income by becoming Uber drivers.
In the report, Beard attempts to persuade Uber with information about the county’s geography, tourism attractions and socioeconomic data.
“I truly believe Uber can succeed in Monroe County,” she wrote. “With Waterloo and Columbia close in proximity to one another, the close ties of Monroe County as a whole and the rise in tourism, the need for a private-drive service is apparent.”
The online petition currently only has 373 signatures. Beard has a goal of 1,000 listed.
Uber said it did not have any concrete plans to expand into Monroe County.
“We’re always evaluating ways to expand Uber service to more riders and drivers, but no decisions have been made at this time,” Uber spokesperson Jodi Kawada Page said.
Uber currently serves nearby counties like St. Clair and Madison counties.
To see a map of where Uber serves, go to uber.com/cities/st-louis.
To sign Beard’s petition, visit ipetitions.com/petition/UberMonroeCounty.
While Monroe County residents still cannot use Uber, they have a host of other options for public transportation.
Lyft, a competitor of Uber that provides similar services, began operating in the county several months ago.
“We’re thrilled by the growth that we’ve seen in Monroe County since launching in December 2017,” Lyft Communications Manager Kaitlyn Carl said. “Lyft recognizes the opportunity to provide passengers in Southern Illinois responsible and reliable rides, and drivers a flexible earning opportunity — and we’re excited to continue our growth throughout the area.”
Fare for using Lyft is determined by distance traveled and the time it took to travel that distance.
For a map of where Lyft operates, visit lyft.com/rider/cities/southern-illinois-il.
Another option is the Monroe-Randolph Transit District, a curb-to-curb bus service that has operated in the area since 2005. MRTD offers rides Monday through Friday between 5:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Cost is $6 for a one-way trip to anywhere in either county. Riders must schedule rides at least 24 hours in advance.
The system also provides Medicaid transportation and rides on a service contract basis.
To schedule a ride with the MRTD, call 618-443-9087.
Lastly, St. Louis-based Metro provides its MetroBus service. The bus makes five stops in Waterloo and Columbia combined.
It costs $2 for a one-way trip on MetroBus.
To see MetroBus stops in the area, visit metrostlouis.org/route/2x-waterloo-columbia.