Merchants on Miracle Mile and city staff in Coral Gables have tried several methods to keep business on Miracle Mile afloat during the streetscape construction. The city’s latest effort: a partnership with Uber.
The city and the ride-sharing service have agreed to work on a promotional campaign that encourages use of the Uber app as an alternative to fighting through traffic and finding parking in a nearby garage.
The city commission approved the item at Tuesday’s meeting, and officials said they hope it will be another tool to help business owners on Miracle Mile and Giralda Avenue.
“Anything we can do to make our city user-friendly and bring people here in a safe manner,” Mark Trowbridge, president of the city’s chamber of commerce, said. “We all know the places that are impacted by having an Uber alternative or transit alternative do better for business.”
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Merchants and businesses have said that part of the loss of business they’ve seen, since construction kicked off this summer, has been due to regular customers lamenting the lack of storefront parking or being deterred by the walk from the city’s garages. Some business owners have reported losses of 50 percent or more.
The campaign would include dedicated Uber pick-up and drop-off zones and similar areas for the UberEats food-delivery service. The partnership would also include promo codes for city events like Movies on the Mile and Jazz in the Gables.
The commission has been supportive of regulation and further use of the app, and passed a resolution in October 2015 encouraging Uber’s use in the Gables. The Miami-Dade County Commission legalized the operation of Uber, Lyft and similar services in May after years of debate over regulating the apps and pushback from the local taxi industry.