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Uber (Finally) Arrives At Albany Airport

Ride-hailing company Uber has begun serving travelers at Albany International Airport after a long period of negotiations.

Airport officials say nearly 3 million travelers pass through Albany International every year. Those not being picked up or dropped off by family or friends could avail themselves of CDTA, Adirondack Trailways and Vermont Transit buses, taxicabs and Lyft... but not Uber.

Ride-hailing was legalized in upstate New York last year.

Under a plan finalized back in mid-2017, Uber and Lyft agreed to pay Albany International $2 per pickup and drop-off. Lyft immediately signed on and began serving travelers; but talks with Uber stalled.

For a time, it looked as if Uber might never be available at Albany International. Airport spokesman Doug Myers:    "Last week negotiations resumed once again in earnest and Uber now has agreed to the airport permit process which requires them first of all to provide third-party verification of their financial statements. In other words how many people they pick up at the airport, how many they drop off, because there's a charge. We charge the transportation companies $2 to drop off and $2 to pick up. And we need verification of how many people they're picking up, so Uber is now on board with that permit process, and we welcome them here."

Uber passengers may hail a ride by using the company's app. Customer fares are automatically calculated and charged to the payment method they choose to link to their Uber account.

Uber Communications Manager Harry Hartfield says "it's a good day for travelers."    "It's an exciting day for drivers as well. The agreement allows drivers to actually wait on airport property so they can easily access customers at the airport, making it easy for customers to call an Uber, and drivers to find a passenger."

Myers says Uber drivers have been authorized to drop off passengers curbside in front of the terminal and pick up passengers curbside near the baggage claim exit.   "We've had Lyft since June of 2017 and of course Capitaland Taxi is our contract cab company but many people had been asking for Uber. I think Uber is on their mind, it's a name that is extremely familiar with them and they've been looking for Uber. We've let them know time and again that Lyft has been available here, but there's a demand for the Uber drivers and the Uber service."

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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