Executives with ride-sharing service Uber vow to keep fighting for full access to RDU International Airport for its drivers.

The California-based startup also defended its strategy in taking on taxis and other services through its ride-sharing mobile application that connects users and drivers. Uber also is continuing to recruit more drivers in the Triangle in a Q&A with WRAL TechWire.

RDU had called Uber and fellow ride-sharing service Lyft illegal taxis, handing out more than 100 trespassing citations to drivers.

While RDU recently decided to allow some 10 Uber drivers to service the airport, the five-year-old company says no deal is in place and that it intends to keep pushing to give airport passengers more choice in transportation. Uber began offering service in Raleigh last April and expanded to other Triangle markets in June. 

“We have not reached a deal with RDU,” said Uber spokesperson Taylor Bennett. “‘Deal’ suggests a compromise, but so far RDU has not taken the time to understand our business model when the rest of the state has recognized this is an entirely new transportation option that deserves a new regulatory framework.”

Uber and other ride-sharing services such as Lyft have come under regulatory fire in other markets around the world as they try to transform the pay-for-transportation business. And Bennett defended Uber’s strategy. 

“Ridesharing has been embraced by riders and drivers everywhere, especially in North Carolina where we are proud to operate in 10 cities,” Bennett explained. “But RDU continues to block consumer choice and refuses to allow Uber driver partners to safely and reliably get people to and from the airport in the same way they travel around the rest of N.C. and the entire country.

“Making it unnecessarily burdensome to serve the airport is restrictive for the vast majority of our driver partners and does nothing to benefit residents and visitors.”

Arathi Mehrotra, Uber’s general manager for the Triangle market, complained that RDU’s issuing of citations to its drivers is “unjust.”

“The vast majority of Uber partners are unable to operate freely at the airport; drivers continue to be harassed and face unjust citations; both drivers and riders continue to be inconvenienced when they want the freedom of more transportation choice,” Mehrotra said.

“Riders arriving at RDU expect to have Uber here. It is important that people’s first experience in the Triangle reinforce the notion that our community stands for innovation, convenience, and consumer choice. Riders should have the freedom and choice to decide how they want to get to and from the airport; arriving in the Triangle should be a positive experience, not an inconvenient one.”

Uber ha shown it can work with airports, as Bennett noted.

“Uber recently signed a deal to operate legally at San Francisco International Airport. For other airports looking to welcome people into their cities, manage the curbside chaos, and ensure safe and reliable transportation options without hassle, this SFO-Uber partnership will be a great model,” he said. “Here’s the story: http://blog.sfgate.com/techchron/2014/10/20/lyft-uber-can-operate-at-sfo/”

Despite the RDU friction, Mehrotra insisted that Uber demand is swelling.

“Demand for Uber in the Research Triangle continues to grow dramatically,” she pointed out.

“We are seeing strong interest from riders in various parts of the community including universities, downtown areas and business hubs as well as from drivers eager to partner with Uber for the added economic opportunity and flexibility to start a business and earn a living. Uber continues to grow extremely quickly in the Triangle.”

The fact RDU is limiting Uber also reflects badly on the Triangle, according to Mehrotra.

“This does not make a good impression on visitors to RDU who are used to readily using Uber in other cities,” he said. “Restricting competition and limiting consumer choice doesn’t fit with the region’s identity as technology-savvy and business friendly, and does nothing but harm the people trying make a living and get around safely. The bottom line is more choice and more opportunity is good for riders, drivers and cities.”

RDU is not the only institutional entity that has opposed Uber. But Taylor vowed the company will forge ahead.

“Consumers want choice,” Taylor said.

“They have responded to choice by making Uber successful in markets across the country and in over 220 cities around the world. Policy makers recognize this overwhelming consumer demand and support more choices for the people they serve.”

The Uber executives insisted that drivers mush meet a number of requirements

“Uber is connecting riders to the safest, most reliable rides on the road,” Arathi said. “Every partner must pass rigorous federal, state and local background checks that go back seven years.”