NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - During a press conference at the Angelina County Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning, Uber made it official and announced that it will be offering its ride-share services to customers in Lufkin and Nacogdoches.
"Our mission statement at the core is transportation everywhere for everyone, and that's something we want to provide," said Chris Miller, the public policy manager of Texas for Uber Technologies. "There is a market here for that, whether it's you going out on a Friday or Saturday night to enjoy yourself, and you don't want to be bothered to drive, or it's a simple as you're at the auto mechanic, and it's going to take them two or three hours to fix your car. Rather than sit there, you can use Uber to go on errands."
Miller said that what makes their service unique is that every day citizens will serve as their drivers.
During the press conference, Miller confirmed that Uber will be offering its services in Nacogdoches as well.
Miller said that Uber will start offering its services in Lufkin at 1 p.m. Wednesday. He said after customers download the app, Uber has a special promo code they can use. Uber customers can use the promo code, "Lufkin," and the first ride up to $15 will be free, Miller said.
The Uber spokesman said during the press conference that they were able bring their ride-share services to the Lufkin-Nacogdoches area because of recent changes in state regulations. He said State Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) authored a bill that help make those changes possible. He also thanked State Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) for his efforts in helping bring Uber to the Lufkin-Nacogdoches area. Nichols is the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
"We're delighted to welcome Uber to our community, our county, and our region," Ashby said. "What this represents is free enterprise and freedom."
Ashby also said one of the reasons he pushed for Uber to come to the Lufkin-Nacogdoches area was that he felt that it would reduce the number of drunk drivers taking to the streets.
After the press conference, Miller explained that while they won't be offering Uber Pool services, they will be offering Uber X services, which will involve providing vans that can handle up to seven passengers. He also said that people interested in driving for Uber should go to Uber.com website and click on the "Become a Driver" tab in the upper right corner of the people. Drivers will have to have a valid driver's license and proof of insurance. They will also be required to pass a background check.
Miller said the beauty of working part-time as an Uber driver is that people can set their own hours.
Officials with Stephen F. Austin University announced late Tuesday that the college will be having an event to celebrate the arrival of Uber in Nacogdoches at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Plaza.
SFA University President D. Baker Pattillo, as well as members of various campus organizations and government officials, are set to speak at the event, according to a Facebook post from the University.