EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Uber is hiring more Spanish-speaking drivers for its uberESPANOL service, which matches drivers and passengers who prefer to speak Spanish.
Community leaders and local officials teamed up with the ride-hailing company in East Los Angeles on Tuesday for a sign-up event.
They spoke about Uber's latest feature, uberESPANOL and the effort to recruit more Spanish-speaking drivers.
Participants at the event at the Salesian Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles were guided through the sign-up process and had their vehicles inspected on-site.
"We heard from a lot of riders who were really interested in talking to their drivers in Spanish," said Tatiana Winograd, an Uber spokesperson.
Customers can request a Spanish-speaking driver under the UberX category.
The service launched in Los Angeles last year, and Uber says so far, it has more than 5,000 drivers.
Unisia Sevilla is one of those drivers. She said she noticed that some passengers are more at ease once they're greeted in Spanish.
"One lady, she was about maybe 65, when she came in, she was a little scared, when she realized I had greeted her in Spanish, she just like smiled to here and she was excited," Sevilla said.
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino said Uber's push to hire more Spanish-speaking drivers gives Angelenos another opportunity to put food on the table.
Local resident Jose Enriquez said he usually depends on public transportation but says he's now more likely to use the Uber app.
One Uber driver said he likes the new feature but hopes more customers will find out about it. He also said the wait for uberESPANOL riders might be a little longer - about 15 to 20 minutes.
Uber hopes to get 12,000 new drivers within the next year.
City News Service contributed to this report.