- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) - Ride-hailing service Uber is expanding its reach in Pennsylvania.

The San-Francisco-based company says it will begin operating in Washington, Greene, Westmoreland, Indiana, Armstrong and Butler counties this week. The expansion also includes DuBois, Gettysburg, greater Williamsport, Johnstown and Altoona.

Uber currently serves 77 percent of residents in Pennsylvania. It will now cover over 90 percent, the company said.

The service allows people to use a smartphone to book and pay for a car service.

“With students gearing up for the fall semester, we think Uber can also help provide a safe alternative to drunk driving,” the company said in a statement. “Our mission is to cover every ZIP code in the state, and this expansion takes us one big step closer to that goal.”

As part of the expansion, Uber has lowered fare prices in numerous municipalities including Harrisburg, York and Reading.

Uber has asked that state legislators give ride-hailing services permanent authority to operate statewide.

A bill that would grant such authority passed in the state Senate in November. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports it has since stalled in the House Consumer Affairs Committee amid opposition from Philadelphia taxi cab companies that have lost business to ride-hailing firms.

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