Tucson International Airport has reached an agreement with the ride-hailing service Uber to allow passengers to use the service at the airport, a day after announcing a similar deal with Uber rival Lyft.

Uber will now be allowed to pick up arriving passengers at TIA through the company’s mobile app. Official Uber pick-ups began immediately following Thursday evening’s announcement, after Lyft began service earlier Thursday, the airport said.

As with Lyft, Uber will be able to pick up passengers from the same designated area next to TIA’s rental car facility, east of baggage claim near the shuttle stop for off-site car rental firms. Signs point the way to the Uber and Lyft pickup area.

Uber will provide service at TIA under the same terms as the airport’s deal with Lyft, paying $2 for each pickup and dropoff, together roughly comparable to the $4 taxis pay for airport pickups, airport spokeswoman Jessie Butler said.

Uber immediately posted that a $2 airport surcharge will apply to all pickups and drops; Lyft says on its website that airport fees vary.

Both service contracts with Tucson International Airport run through Jan. 31, 2017, when they will be revisited, Butler said.

“This is kind of a trial run, to see how it works out,” she said, adding that other ride-sharing services would have to negotiate individual contracts along the same lines as Uber and Lyft.

Uber, Lyft and similar “transportation network companies” arrange rides, typically via smartphone apps, allowing customers to submit trip requests that are then routed to drivers who use their own cars.

Uber serves 475 cities in more than 70 countries; Lyft now operates in more than 200 U.S. cities. Both companies are based in San Francisco.

Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services are set to begin service at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Saturday.

The legality of such ride-hailing services has been challenged by governments and taxi companies, who allege that their use of drivers without professional licensing is unsafe and illegal.

Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner


David joined the Star in 1997, after working as a consumer and business reporter in Phoenix for more than a decade. A graduate of Ohio University, he has covered most business beats focusing on technology, defense and utilities. He has won several awards.