Uber, Lyft will keep operating at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport: What it means for travelers


Despite past threats they would leave the market if an increase in trip fees moved forward, ride-hailing companies Lyft and Uber will both continue operating at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. 



FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo, passengers find their rides at the Ride Share point as they exit Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. A dispute between ride-hailing companies and the city of Phoenix deepened on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, as Arizona state lawmakers introduced legislation that would bar raising fees on Uber and Lyft at Sky Harbor airport. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)


© AP
FILE – In this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo, passengers find their rides at the Ride Share point as they exit Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. A dispute between ride-hailing companies and the city of Phoenix deepened on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, as Arizona state lawmakers introduced legislation that would bar raising fees on Uber and Lyft at Sky Harbor airport. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

The decision comes on the heels of a unanimous Arizona Supreme Court decision that ruled the city of Phoenix’s decision to increase fees on ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber to pay for maintaining infrastructure was constitutional.

In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for Lyft said:

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“While we remain concerned about parity across ground transportation modes and affordability, particularly during this challenging time, our full focus is on the safety of our riders, drivers, and team members. We will continue to operate at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to provide travelers with access to reliable transportation and earning opportunities for drivers, and we hope to revisit this issue with the city at the appropriate time.”

Uber confirmed on Thursday that it too would continue providing service to Sky Harbor. A spokeswoman declined to provide any additional comment. 

Uber, Lyft previously said they’d leave Sky Harbor over new fees

In late 2019, the Phoenix City Council voted 7-2 to increase trip fees on companies like Uber and Lyft. The fees to pick up and drop off passengers at the airport were set to increase to $4 per trip on Feb. 1. 

Uber and Lyft threatened to leave the airport if the increase went through.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the Arizona Supreme Court to review whether the trip fees were constitutional, and the airport suspended its implementation of the fees until the court made a ruling.

The court issued a unanimous decision on April 2, clearing the way for the ordinance to take effect.

As a result, starting May 1, the airport will move forward with the fees, which will increase to $4 each way. 

“Rideshare is an important part of ground transportation at Sky Harbor and we’re glad Lyft will continue to offer their services to airport travelers. This is particularly critical as the airport looks to recover in a post-COVID world,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego in an emailed statement. 

How the fees will work

Starting May 1, the fee will be $4 per drop-off and pickup. While taxis are restricted from passing their fees on to riders, ride-hailing companies are not and typically do pass those charges on to their customers. Currently, riders only pay $2.66 for pickup from the airport. 

The fee is scheduled to increase annually:

  • $4.25 in 2021.
  • $4.50 in 2022.
  • $4.75 in 2023.
  • $5 in 2024.

You’ll pay less if your ride-hailing driver picks you up or drops you off at the PHX Sky Train station at 44th and Washington streets. If you opt for that, you’ll pay $2.80 each way and ride the Sky Train shuttle to the terminals. Shuttles come every three to five minutes. The airport hopes offering this option will reduce congestion at the terminals.

Fee on taxis, shuttles and buses

Taxis, shuttles and buses also currently pay fees to pick up passengers at the airport. The new fee schedule will make them pay a drop-off fee, but it reduces their fees overall. 

The new charge for a taxi is $1.75 each way, $2.25 for a shuttle and $5 for a charter bus. These services also face additional regulations that Uber and Lyft do not.

For instance, taxi companies bid competitively on contracts to serve the airport. In addition to the fees, those contracts require:

  • Transportation operators can’t pass the fees on to customers.
  • They must have a letter of credit.
  • They must provide service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  • No one can wait longer than 5 minutes for pickup.
  • Fares are set by city code and surge pricing is not allowed.
  • Rules for how quickly lost items are returned to riders.
  • Vehicles must undergo inspections and meet age requirements.
  • The use of alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Drivers must pass a written test, an FBI check and a TSA threat assessment.
  • The companies must be able accommodate passengers under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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You can connect with Arizona Republic Consumer Travel Reporter Melissa Yeager through email at [email protected] You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram. 

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Uber, Lyft will keep operating at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport: What it means for travelers

Related video: Uber Launches New Delivery Service to Help Send Packages to Loved Ones (Provided by Travel + Leisure)


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