Dozens of potential Uber drivers packed into a community center Monday in Miami Gardens to learn more about Uber’s latest effort to build its base in South Florida.
The ride-sharing service launched its Uber Urban Partnership program with an information session and workshop at the Betty T. Ferguson Center, 3000 NW 199th St., allowing drivers to apply on the spot and to work on pending applications to partner with Uber.
Through the initiative, the company hopes to add 10,000 drivers in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties as part of larger plan to have 50,000 new drivers across the East Coast.
On hand were several elected officials including leadership from Miami Gardens, the Beacon Council and the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce — along with plenty of curious citizens.
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“I’d like to get a feel for how it works and where it stands in terms of hours and finances,” said Richard White, a Miramar resident interested in becoming an Uber driver.
Although Uber is technically illegal in Miami-Dade County and may soon be leaving Broward County, White was not deterred.
“If Uber has work, even if it’s in Miami-Dade, that would not be a deterrent,” White said.
A.J. Francis, a defensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins, said he chose to apply for Uber because it allows for a flexible schedule.
“I didn’t expect it to be this big a deal for me to want to be an Uber driver, people get second jobs all the time,” Francis said.
“Every person that drives for Uber understands that a second job can make or break a family.”
The company said the launch event will be the first of several meetings across South Florida in the coming months. They expect to have future workshops and information sessions in Hialeah and in Miami’s Liberty City and Little Havana neighborhoods.
“This event is just the beginning. In the coming weeks and months what we’ll be working on is hosting a series of driver events just like this one,” said Uber South Florida’s general manager, Kasra Moshkani.