PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Uber — an app on your smartphone that summons a vehicle to take you wherever — is now licensed to take riders to and from Pittsburgh International Airport.
“Passengers can now get on their app and call in Uber to get Downtown or wherever else they need to go,” Christina Cassotis, the Airport Authority’s new CEO told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday morning.
In addition to taxis, buses, and park & ride lots, there’s Uber, and it turns out Uber and Pittsburgh International are leading the way.
“Airports around the country are used to doing business one way and sometimes accommodating newer business models incorporating the latest and greatest technology is a little bit of a square peg in a round hole,” explained Cassotis.
Vishal Singh travels a lot on business, loves Uber, and says Pittsburgh is ahead of his hometown Toronto and adds, “I was in Chicago last time and noticed I couldn’t get Uber.”
“It’s becoming increasingly tough to make any money out here now,” said Jim Morrow, a Yellow Cab driver.
Uber is not likely to be the only company offering this kind of service at the airport.
Both Lyft and Yellow Z, Yellow Cab’s version of app service, are in the process of negotiating the same deal with the Airport Authority.
Uber has clearly identified Pittsburgh as both a growth market and a good place for research on future technologies.
“We’ve been in Pittsburgh for just over a year now, and Pittsburgh has welcomed Uber with open arms,” said Jennifer Krusius, general manager of Uber in Pittsburgh.
Besides ride-sharing, Krusius says Uber has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University in the Advanced Technology Center.
“It’s a long term project, and right now, we’re working on mapping technology. We see that as part of the future of ride-sharing.”
As for reports that Uber “stole” 40 professionals from CMU’s Robotics Center by offering bonuses and double pay, Krusius said, “I don’t believe that is an accurate depiction of our partnership.”
Whatever transpired, Uber is here to stay.
“The work Uber is doing in Pittsburgh with CMU and the city of Pittsburgh — really it’s a great partnership,” noted Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald.