ORLANDO, Fla. — Mears Transportation and Uber Technologies announced an exclusive partnership on Monday.

The new mutually-exclusive Ridesharing and Vehicle Supply Partnership will be used specifically for the greater Orlando area.

  • Officials: Partnership expected to improve Mears customer experience
  • Mears high-end fleet will be available on Uber App Monday, November 26
  • Uber safety checks will apply to all Mears drivers

According to executives with both companies, the deal will make the Mears Transportation fleet of more than 200 luxury SUVs and sedans available Monday, November 26 on the Uber App under the re-launched UberBlack Services.

“I’m excited about what this means for Orlando, I’m excited about what this means for our drivers and we are just excited to be in partnership with Uber,” said Trey White, executive chairman for Mears Transportation.

Initially the partnership will focus on high-end vehicles. Taxis are expected to be made available to the public on the Uber App by the end of the year. Frequent Mears Taxi customer Shanique Marlin is looking forward to what this partnership could mean for her commute.

“That’s a good thing that they are partnering with them, but is it going to make the service any better and quicker?” Shanique Marlin said.

Mears executives expect the partnership will improve customer experience. All Mears drivers will have to go through Uber background screenings.  

The move represents a shift away from past animosity between the two companies. When Uber first came on the scene, Mears fought to rein in the upstart rideshare company, which at the time was able to undercut taxi fares with drivers who did not need to meet the minimum standards Mears drivers needed, including insurance and background checks.

The fight led to the city of Orlando to approve new rules for ridesharing companies in 2014, forcing drivers to have permits and undergo third-party background checks.

“One of the reasons we wanted to partner with Mears here in Orlando is they have a legacy of service, and that includes a legacy of safety,” said Colin Tooze, Uber Director of Public Affairs.

Meanwhile, Shanique Marlin is standing in the ready, waiting for a more convenient way to use Mears Transportation services through the Uber app.

Story by Spectrum News reporter Curtis McCloud.