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Phoenix to vote again on Uber/Lyft airport fee because of procedural error

PHOENIX – The Phoenix City Council will have to vote a second time on new Lyft and Uber fees at Sky Harbor International Airport because of an administrative error, a city spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Communications Director Julie Watters told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email that a portion of the agenda item wasn’t posted 60 days before the Oct. 16 meeting, as required by state law.

The error was limited to the proposed rate increase for commercial ground transportation companies, Watters said.

She said the mistake was discovered within 36 hours of the City Council’s 7-2 vote last week in favor of several provisions concerning airport transportation.

The information has been corrected on the city’s website, and the City Council will consider the item again at its previously scheduled Dec. 18 meeting, Watters said.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who cast one of the no votes, says the mistake is an opportunity for opponents of the new fees to continue fighting them.

“Now the taxpayers and the citizens of the city of Phoenix get to have one more bite of the apple where they can tell the politicians to listen to the voice of the public and not pass this tax increase,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Under the proposal, ride-hailing companies such as Lyft and Uber would be charged a $4 fee for each ride to and from the airport curbside starting in 2020.

The fee would increase by a quarter each year, reaching $5 in 2024.

The plan also includes a $2.80 fee for ride-hailing drop-offs and pickups at the 44th Street PHX Sky Train Station.

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

The proposal was designed in part to reduce the number of vehicles at the terminals and encourage use of the free PHX Sky Train, according to the city’s aviation department.

Transportation network companies or TNCs, as Uber and Lyft are known, now represent 70% of the commercial traffic at the airport, according to the release, up from 9.3% in 2016.

TNCs, which have been using designated areas at the airport since 2016, will be able to use remote locations if they want to avoid the new fees.

The agenda item includes several other provisions concerning airport transportation.

All commercial transportation using zero-emissions vehicles would receive a 40% discount in airport fees.

Additionally, the maximum fine for leaving a vehicle at an airport curb would be raised to $250 plus a $500 public nuisance penalty.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report.

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