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Uber comes to Oxford, Hattiesburg, Gulfport-Biloxi: Want to be Uber driver?

Uber made a big splash in Mississippi this Fourth of July 2016 weekend, coming online with service in three new cities.

Or did it?

Uber has now come to Oxford, Hattiesburg and Gulfport-Biloxi as of July 1. The app-based ride service that competes with lower fares against taxis has only been in Jackson in Mississippi. A popular Google search in recent years has been, “Is Uber coming to Oxford?”

It’s in Oxford now, and also in Hattiesburg and Gulfport-Biloxi as of Friday. Some excited Uber users, however, have found out that having Uber available doesn’t immediately mean you can hail a ride from your smartphone.

This weekend at a yoga class in Oxford, for instance, one participant noted that Friday night from the Square they tried to find a fide through Uber, but no drivers were available. A city taxi was the only option.

A quick scan of the drivers available over the weekend in the cities revealed none on the streets in the cities.

That’s the thing about Uber, of course. Drivers have to sign up to the service. So, while the ultimate popularity of Uber in Oxford, Hattiesburg and Gulfport isn’t in doubt because of the service’s wide appeal and demand nationally, it won’t happen overnight.

First, enough drivers have to sign up to serve riders.

If you want to be an Uber driver you can learn more here. These, however, are the general requirements, according to ridesharingdriver.com:

  • You must be at least 21 years old
  • You must have access to a 4-door car that is year 2006 or newer in most cities
    • 2001 or newer: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco
    • 2011 or newer: New York
    • 2001 or newer: Chicago
  • You must have in-state auto insurance with your name on the policy
  • Must have an in-state driver license, licensed in the US for at least one year
  • You must have a social security number
  • In-state plates with current registration (commercial plates are acceptable as well)Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 9.25.35 AM
  • Pass a background check and a driving record check

Still, Uber is excited to be in business in more Mississippi cities.

“As we head into Independence Day weekend, Uber will offer a safe alternative to drinking and driving after a night of celebrations,” a spokesman with Uber told the Sun Herald.

Taxi regulations in Oxford, Hattiesburg and Gulfport-Biloxi blocked Uber from serving the areas. A new state law that went into effect on July 1, 2016 overrides local laws, however, allowing Uber to operate.

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