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Uber Opens A New Support Center For Drivers On The South Side

By Mae Rice in News on Jan 29, 2016 7:09PM

A yellow cab (Photo by Elena Kovalevich via the Chicagoist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

On Thursday, Uber opened a new Partner Support Center (PSC) in West Pullman, on Chicago’s South Side.

The company, which calls its drivers “driver-partners”—a term weirdly reminiscent of “sister-wives”—will offer in-person support to drivers at the PSC. Services would include helping new drivers sign up for Uber and helping existing drivers troubleshoot the app, among others.

Located in a strip mall in West Pullman, at 839 W. 115th St., the center will have a staff of eight, and operate during normal business hours Monday-Friday.

Overall, the new PSC will make for an annual investment of $350,000 in the “local community,” according to an Uber statement. Uber spokeswoman Brooke Anderson clarified that that figure reflects rent and facility costs, payment for local employees, and the like.

“Uber is knocking down barriers to affordable transportation and economic opportunity in Chicago,” said Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), who represents the West Pullman neighborhood where the PSC just opened. “I’m glad to see this tech company investing in the South Side of Chicago and helping more people maximize the chance to earn money on their own schedules.”

The new facility reflects Uber’s active efforts to grow its base on the South Side. “Tens of thousands of trips are taking place on the south side each week,” Anderson said via email, adding that the number of trips taken on the South Side rose 20% in the last three months.

This growth has benefited local drivers. “More than 500 driver-partners who live in the West Pullman area have earned more than half a million dollars in the last three months alone,” Uber said in a statement.

The company’s efforts to grow its presence on the South Side began in June of last year, when Uber announced an effort to recruit 10,000 new drivers, and a plan to focus recruitment efforts on the South and West Side.

“One out of every two Uber rides begins or ends in an underserved area,” said Andrew Macdonald, Uber Regional General Manager, said in a June statement. “We are committed to making transportation reliable in every neighborhood. As ridership grows on Chicago’s west and south sides, people who live in the community can earn money by helping their neighbors get to where they’re going.”