Wednesday began a statewide expansion that will bring ridesharing company Uber to suburban and rural areas across Kentucky, including Frankfort.

The company announced that it would expand its rideshare app statewide, partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to promote safe rides home in an effort to curtail accidents and casualties over the holiday season.

While the Uber app’s services were available locally as part of the company’s Greater Lexington Service Area, the expansion means that Frankfort and Franklin County residents — drivers and riders alike —will be able to have more reliable service, according to the company, though it did not specify exactly how the reliability of service would improve in Frankfort.

The additional services should aid the many business people who come to Frankfort every day, said Terri Bradshaw, president and CEO of the Kentucky Capital Development Corp.

“From a business perspective, it will only add value to our community,” Bradshaw said. “It makes it easier to do business here, certainly if you give them the ability to be mobile within the community.”

The news also means that more citizens will have an opportunity for a second job, Bradshaw said. Those who are looking for such an opportunity, she said, could take advantage of the flexible hours Uber provides as they work their primary job.

“We are grateful for Uber’s expansion within the Commonwealth, allowing even more Kentucky residents to access rides at the tap of a button,” Gov. Matt Bevin said in a statement. “The company’s partnership with MADD promotes social responsibility across the state by providing a safe alternative for riders during the holiday season. Whether you take public transit, call a friend, or use a rideshare app like Uber, we encourage every Kentuckian to take advantage of the safe transportation options available in your community.”

Uber said it has operated in the Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green areas but will now bring the app to suburban and rural communities across the commonwealth.

The move also means that Uber will be looking to get more drivers on board to serve the new communities covered by the expansion. Those interested in driving on the Uber platform can sign up at www.uber.com/signup/drive/us/.

“Uber is proud to expand throughout Kentucky, bringing access to reliable rides to even more communities,” Uber General Manager Erin Braddock Guthrie said in a statement.  “By offering an alternative to getting behind the wheel after a night out, we are committed to helping make drinking and driving a thing of the past. We thank Governor Matt Bevin, state and local law enforcement, MADD, and our driver-partners for all they are doing to help keep the roads safe during this holiday season.”

Uber’s statewide launch and #ReasonsToRide campaign in partnership with MADD coincides with a time when drunk driving is particularly lethal. From 2011 to 2016, an average of 300 people died yearly in alcohol-related crashes the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

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