Uber Will Give One Millionth Ride in Sacramento Region this Week

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Here's something that doesn't happy very often: dozens of Uber drivers happy to be off the streets and out of their cars -- not making money.

"I think it's awesome! Really cool ... I didn't expect it," said driver Darla Guillory.

Contractors like Guillory are so excited to not be working because Uber, their business partner, celebrated the more than 3,000 drivers on the platform in Sacramento with an appreciation party Monday night in Land Park.

That party kicked off a week of festivities in which one of those drivers will give the region's one millionth ride.

Folks get behind the wheel for all kinds of reasons.

Anthony Genovese is the lead business intelligence developer for a Roseville company, but he's also an Uber driver.


"I need some extra money for vacation coming up," he said.

"Sacramento is really a growth story. Sacramento -- the Central Valley -- is the fastest growing part of California by population, and it's the fastest growing part of Uber," said Jay Gierak, general manager for Uber Sacramento.

The app-driven service will be sending the lucky millionth rider on a four-day, all expense-paid trip to Hawaii.

There's a lot for Uber Sacramento to celebrate after just two years on the road in Sacramento, but those two years have come with significant bumps in the road.

Customers have complained about being surprised with "surge" or increased pricing during peak hours, but the region's new general manager advises patience.

"We're working really hard to make it cheaper," Gierak said.

According to Gierak,  that will happen when he can get more folks in the driver's seat, balancing out supply with demand.

On a different front,  Uber has just staved off a license revocation or $7 million dollar fine by appealing a ruling that it hadn't properly filed diver and safety information with California's Public Utilities Commission.

And aside from the ride-share's ongoing battle with taxi companies over the taxes and fees they pay and it doesn't, driver screening may be the biggest issue.

A Texas woman is currently suing Uber, claiming the company's civilly liable for failing to properly check the background of the convicted felon driver who raped her.

San Francisco's D.A. is suing as well ... saying company claims about gold standard security aren't valid since Uber doesn't fingerprint drivers.

Gierak wouldn't specifically weigh in about fingerprinting.

"We agree backgrounds checks are not 100 percent foolproof," he said.

"But we are tirelessly working across the company with both people and technology to provide a really high quality transportation experience."

Uber's chief security officer does say that last year 600 fingerprinted California taxi drivers who applied to drive for Uber failed the ride-share's screening process, showing that neither system is infallible.