As LAX ends curbside pickup, Phoenix airport tacks on fees for Uber, Lyft rides

Melissa Yeager, Arizona Republic
As LAX ends curbside pickup, Phoenix airport tacks on fees for Uber, Lyft rides

Staring Jan. 1, 2020, taking a ride share to and from Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport will cost you more. 

In a vote of 7-2, the Phoenix City Council voted to approve a proposal to increase surcharge on ride share transportation like Uber and Lyft to help offset the cost of ground transportation on airport infrastructure, according to The Arizona Republic, which is part of the USA TODAY Network. 

The amended proposal will also provide a 40% green discount on the fee for ground transit — including ride share vehicles and taxis — that uses zero-emission vehicles. It's unclear how that discount would impact what riders pay. 

"What you are starting to see here is really the killing off of a business. This is just the first stage of that," said Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who voted against the increase, which he believes "hurts the little guy." He also called the move "a money grab" and urged ride-share organizations to fight back. 

"Part of being the fastest growing city in the country is the responsibility to invest in our future. If we want to stay at the top of the pack for customer satisfaction and innovation, we have to invest in Sky Harbor," said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, who voted yes on the proposal. 

The news comes on the heels of an announcement that the Los Angeles International Airport would end curbside pickup for taxis and ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.

On Oct. 29, the airport will move the pickup area for both taxi and ride app users away from the terminal curbsides to a new area, dubbed “LAX-it,” just east of Terminal 1. 

LAX joins the growing list of airports where curbside traffic has gotten so bad that taxis and ride-hailing services re no longer permitted to pick up at passengers at the curb.

How much will Uber, Lyft airport fees cost in Phoenix?

The airport charges a $2.66 surcharge for ride-share passengers picked up at Sky Harbor Airport. There is not currently a fee for drop-off. 

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, that pickup surcharge will increase to $4, and a $4 fee for drop-off also will be added. That's a total increase of $5.34 on a round trip fare to Sky Harbor. The fee is set to increase over the coming years to $4.25 in 2021, $4.50 in 2022, $4.75 in 2023 eventually reaching $5 each way in 2024.

In exchange, the airport would increase the portion of curb space dedicated to ride share services, install new signage and improve the Wi-Fi available in those areas so passengers can better track their rides. 

Riders who elect to be dropped off or picked up away from the terminal at the 44th Street Sky Train station will receive a 30% discount on the fee.

The increase comes after two consecutive years of the airport rolling fees back from its initial high of $3.25 in 2016. 

In an emailed statement, Bakari Brock, Senior Director of Lyft Business said:

"We are disappointed in the outcome of today’s hearing. This tax unfairly burdens riders who rely on Lyft for affordable and convenient transportation to and from Sky Harbor with funding the $26 million needed to complete SkyTrain construction unrelated to their choice of transportation. Lyft will be reviewing airport operations in the coming days to determine the best path forward for future service at Sky Harbor." 

The measure also increases fines for unattended vehicles and lifts the caps on the amount the airport could charge for passenger parking. The airport currently charges less than the cap on parking but had sought to remove the cap to give flexibility if they need to increase it in the future.

The amended version approved by council also retains the cap on employee parking.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Uber, Lyft rides at Phoenix airport will cost more in 2020