- Uber threw a party for its drivers in Chicago on Monday that drew many more people than the ride-hailing company likely anticipated.
- The event at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry was billed as a driver-appreciation party, where Uber drivers were each allowed to bring three guests.
- But so many people showed up that it caused a traffic gridlock in a section of Hyde Park, according to a report from The Chicago Tribune.
- "That many people going to one place is just dangerous," local resident John Morrison told The Chicago Tribune, recalling that he saw vehicles, including a bus, driving on the wrong side of the road just to bypass the traffic.
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An Uber driver-appreciation party on Monday evening drew so many people to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, it caused traffic gridlock in a portion of Hyde Park.
A report from The Chicago Tribune described an army of people and vehicles heading toward the venue around 6:30 p.m., apparently prompted in part by Uber's move to allow drivers to each bring three guests to the party.
Uber spokesman Josh Gold said in a statement to Business Insider on Tuesday that the company is "thankful for the thousands of partner drivers and their families who attended" the party.
"However, over a thousand more than RSVP'd came and we had to close admission to the event for everyone's safety when the rented portion of the venue reached capacity," Gold said.
John Morrison, a Chicago resident cited by the Tribune, said "that many people going to one place is dangerous," recalling that he saw vehicles, including a bus, driving on the wrong side of the road just to avoid traffic.
Social media video and images show the venue itself was also crowded.
One Instagram user posted video from inside the event with a caption that read:
"We arrived 30 minutes after the posted start time and found almost every exhibit closed, every #uber driver in Chicago in attendance, and zero food or drinks (after waiting in line at the food table for nearly an hour). It was a bummer of an evening, to say the least."
Uber has a fraught history with its drivers, who are officially recognized as independent contractors. Some drivers have previously sued the company for recognition as employees a designation that would allow them to unionize. The National Labor Relations Board last month issued a memo denying that request and dashing hopes of recognition at the federal level.
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