ARIZONA NEWS

State lawmaker files legal challenge to Phoenix airport Uber/Lyft fees

Dec 19, 2019, 6:45 PM | Updated: Dec 20, 2019, 11:03 am

uber lyft airport...

(Getty Images Photo/Spencer Platt)

(Getty Images Photo/Spencer Platt)

PHOENIX – A day after the Phoenix City Council approved new fees on Uber and Lyft rides at Sky Harbor International Airport, a state lawmaker carried out her threat to legally challenge the move Thursday.

Meanwhile, the two ride-hailing companies reiterated their plans to stop carrying passengers to and from the airport following Wednesday’s vote.

Two weeks after first saying she would file what’s known as an SB 1487 complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office if the proposal passed, Rep. Nancy Barto said she did just that.

The north Phoenix Republican’s complaint requires the attorney general to investigate whether the new fees violate the state constitution.

Barto and other opponents have made the case that the fees violate an amendment approved by voters in 2018 that bans new taxes or tax increases on services.

During Wednesday’s City Council meeting, officials said the fees weren’t taxes, but were rent for using city property at the airport, an explanation Barto called “ridiculous.”

“Are you renting the space in front of your business when you’re dropped off anywhere else outside of Sky Harbor? That’s ridiculous,” Barto told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos in the Afternoon. “Nobody in their right mind would make that connection.”

Phoenix could lose its share of state revenue, a third of its general fund budget, if the fee hike is found to be illegal.

After the vote, Uber said in a statement that it would halt its service at the Phoenix airport sometime next month.

“Our riders and drivers should not be treated as a piggybank to fill the airport’s budget holes,” the statement said. “On behalf of the riders and drivers who rely on Uber, we cannot accept a partnership that unfairly burdens our shared passengers.”

Lyft said it was stopping operations at Sky Harbor “ahead of the fee implementation in order to prevent the unfair penalization of our drivers.”

Lyft spokesman Lauren Alexander didn’t provide specifics but said her company has ceased service in the past “when we believe rules, regulations or fees create unavoidable threat to the health of our business.”

Sky Harbor has said it will not directly charge the increases to drivers or passengers, but Uber and Lyft have indicated the fees could be passed on to them.

Wednesday’s vote was the second on the proposal. A revote was required because administrative error invalidated a 7-2 approval Oct. 16.

Nobody’s minds were changed in the interim, as the proposal again passed 7-2.

Starting Feb. 1, 2020, Lyft and Uber will be charged $4 for curbside pickups and drop-offs. The rate will increase 25 cents a year until hitting $5 in 2024.

Currently, ride-hailing companies are charged $2.66 for pickups and there is no fee for drop-offs.

The approved proposal also alters fees for other modes of ground transportation at the airport.

Taxis, which currently are charged $2.66 for pickups and nothing for drop-offs, will now be assessed $1.75 for each.

The fee for shuttles (9-23 seats) will change from $3.48 for pickups to $2.25 each for pickups and drop-offs.

Rates for charter buses (24-plus seats) are going from $7.38 for pickups to $5.00 each for pickups and drop-offs.

Taxi, shuttle and charter bus fees will increase at an annually adjusted rate.

All fees in the proposal will apply at a 30% lower rate to pickups and drop-offs at the 44th Street PHX Sky Train station and the 24th Street station under construction.

Vehicles powered by alternative fuels will get a 10% discount on all of the airport transportation fees, and zero-emissions vehicles will get a 40% reduction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Amkor Technology to bring semiconductor facility to Peoria...

Serena O'Sullivan

Peoria City Council paves the way for new semiconductor packaging and test facility

Tempe-based Amkor Technology is set to launch an advanced semiconductor packaging and test facility in north Peoria, officials said.

29 minutes ago

Sunnyslope campus...

Serena O'Sullivan

Arizona Humane Society closing Sunnyslope campus, new facility set to open in Phoenix

The Arizona Humane Society's Sunnyslope campus is in the process of being relocated to the Rob and Melani Walton Papago Park Campus.

40 minutes ago

Paul Russell and Jake Hoot are among the scheduled performers for the Out of the Park Music Fest on...

KTAR.com

City of Surprise to close out spring training with music festival

Surprise will finish its spring training season by hosting a music festival on the final day of games in the West Valley city.

50 minutes ago

Doctors at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix used the FARAPULSE Pulsed Field Ablation Sy...

Kevin Stone

Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix debuts new atrial fibrillation treatment

Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix is now treating atrial fibrillation with a new device that reduces the risk of complications.

59 minutes ago

Person planting a 5 foot tree...

KTAR.com

Some residents in Mesa qualify for a free shade tree

Qualifying Mesa residents can now enroll in the city's tree shade program, which offers eligible participants the opportunity to plant a tree in their yard at no cost.

9 hours ago

Teen girl accused of attacking, robbing victim, Gilbert police say...

KTAR.com

Gilbert PD arrest teen girl accused of attacking victim in youth violence case

The Gilbert Police Department said on Tuesday it arrested a teen girl accused of attacking and robbing a victim in September 2023.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

FanDuel

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]

State lawmaker files legal challenge to Phoenix airport Uber/Lyft fees