Courtesy of Uber.

If you had to be to work by 9 today, then chances are you didn’t get to try out a deal for a free Uber ride. But if all goes according to plan, over the next two weeks, Pittsburgh Uber users will get a free ride worth up to $25, courtesy of UPMC Health Plan.

As part of its #purplecar program to promote distraction-free driving, UPMC Health Plan will sponsor one Uber trip per customer through Nov. 15. The deal is good for new and existing users in Pittsburgh, between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily, but is limited to one per customer.

“We’re excited to partner with UPMC Health Plan on our #purplecar promotion to encourage Pittsburghers to think twice about distracted driving,” says Jennifer Krusius, general manager of Uber Pittsburgh.

Uber has been available in Pittsburgh since the spring of 2014. It matches drivers in their own vehicles with passengers via smartphone apps, in totally cashless transactions. In February, the San Francisco-based company announced it was partnering with Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center, to create an Advanced Technologies Center in Lawrenceville. The goal of the partnership, which moved several of NREC’s staff on to Uber’s payroll, is to develop driverless vehicles.

The UPMC Health Plan partnership is intended to draw attention to people who aren’t paying attention: distracted drivers. According to UPMC, in 2013 alone, more than 3,000 people were killed and 424,000 were injured in vehicle crashes where a distracted driver was involved.

“When many people drive, all too often they are focused on other things,” says Dr. Stephen E. Perkins, vice president of Medical Affairs for UPMC Health Plan. “Purplecar is a fun, visible way to call attention to a serious problem – distracted driving, especially among millennials.”

To request #purplecar, users in the Pittsburgh area can open the Uber app, press the “promotions” button and enter the promo code found at

Kim Lyons is an award-winning writer and editor always on the lookout for a great story. Her experience includes writing about business, politics, and local news, and she has a huge crush on Pittsburgh.