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Business/Economy

Uber plans to resume ride-hailing operations in Alaska in June

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: May 25, 2017
  • Published May 25, 2017

REUTERS/Toby Melville/Illustration

Alaska's transportation options are about to grow as ride-hailing companies prepare to re-enter the market.

A text received Thursday by some Alaskans said Uber will return to the state in June. An exact date has yet to be determined, said Brian Gebhardt, a general manager with the company.

Uber competitor Lyft doesn't yet have a time frame for when it will come to Alaska, said communications manager Scott Coriell.

State lawmakers this month passed legislation that will allow ride-hailing companies to operate here. Gov. Bill Walker has yet to sign the bill.

"We obviously need (the) bill to be signed first," Coriell said in an email, adding that the company is excited to launch in Alaska "as soon as possible."

The app-based services allow people to hail a ride using their smartphones and also pay automatically through the app, eliminating cash from the transaction.

Uber debuted in Alaska in 2014. But the company clashed with the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and ultimately paid a fine to settle a dispute over Uber not paying workers' compensation insurance for its drivers. The company left the market in early 2015.

Earlier this year, Gebhardt said the company was open to "opportunities across the state" beyond just operating in Anchorage. Lyft has also recently been growing rapidly in smaller communities around the country, but Coriell said the company is still determining where Alaska operations will be.

A smaller ride-hailing company, Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Tride, said in a press release Thursday it is also planning to launch in Alaska pending the governor's signature on the bill. Tride currently operates in Oklahoma and Texas.

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