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Phoenix City Council to vote on new fee for airport Uber, Lyft trips

(Getty Images Photo/Scott Olson)

PHOENIX — Taking Uber or Lyft to the Phoenix airport could soon become more expensive.

Phoenix City Council will decide Oct. 16 whether to add a $4 fee to ride-hailing pickups and drop-offs at Sky Harbor International Airport in 2020.

The measure, which was recently approved by the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Innovation Subcommittee, would have the fee increase by a quarter each year, reaching $5 in 2024.

It would be up to each company to decide how the fee is absorbed, meaning it’s unclear if it would cause users to pay more and/or drivers to earn less.

“Commercial ground transportation businesses are currently paying a fraction of what it costs to operate the ground transportation program at Sky Harbor,” an airport spokeswoman said in an email to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

“After a year-long collaborative stakeholder process, the airport has proposed a ground transportation fee adjustment which is consistent with industry practice.”

The spokeswoman said ride-hailing operators, which have been using designated areas at the airport since 2016, will be able to use remote locations if they want to avoid the fees.

According to Uber, the fee would make Sky Harbor “among the most expensive airports in the country for ride-sharing.”

The company is asking the public to send letters to the Council encouraging them to shoot down the proposal.

Lyft issued a similar statement, saying the proposal “unfairly burdens riders.”

“The immediate 200% fee increase and eventual $10.00 combined fee would make Sky Harbor one of the most expensive airports for ride-share users in the country,” the statement said.

“Lyft urges the Council to consider a more fair and equitable solution to paying for airport infrastructure plans.”

Councilman Sal DiCiccio of District 6 also opposes the measure, calling it a “money grab.”

“Remember, these (drivers) are working class men and women that are out there that are now going to end up having to pay this additional tax,” he told KTAR News’ Arizona’s Morning News. 

“And it’s not just them. It’s going to be the passengers. It just makes it a lot harder and more difficult for people.”

He said he believes the proposal will pass unless drivers and riders fight it.

“Unless the public does this mass uprising like they did on the marijuana tax, this is going to pass overwhelmingly,” he said.

“And very few people are going to know it’s happening until they start seeing the bill.”

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