ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona’s high court upholds new Phoenix airport Uber, Lyft fees

Apr 2, 2020, 9:56 AM | Updated: 4:25 pm
uber lyft...
(Getty Images Photo/Scott Olson)
(Getty Images Photo/Scott Olson)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday issued a ruling upholding the implementation of controversial Uber and Lyft fees at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

The court unanimously ruled that the new rideshare fees do not violate the state constitution.

The fees were scheduled to go into effect Feb. 1, but the city agreed to delay their implementation until after the Supreme Court ruled. A city spokesperson said the fees would go into effect May 1.

Mayor Kate Gallego, a proponent of the increase, said she expected to win the case but wasn’t expecting a unanimous decision, which she called “a strong vote of confidence.”

“The law is very clear that cities do have the ability to set fees to access our properties,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“More than 1,000 companies operate at Sky Harbor Airport and pay fees, so it was important that rideshare companies also participate in this.”

Gallego said Sky Harbor had been the third busiest in the country, but traffic is down 85% as air travel has plummeted during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We need everyone who does business there to participate in the recovery at the airport from COVID-19,” she said. “The financial impact is devastating and we want people who are profiting off business at the airport to help us recover.”

On Jan. 21, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed an action asking the state’s highest court for a ruling on the constitutionality of the fees. He argued the plan approved twice by the Phoenix City Council violated a voter-approved amendment banning new taxes or tax increases on services.

The city, meanwhile, maintained that the plan approved Dec. 18 is legal, saying the fees are a charge for property use, not taxes.

The city’s plan calls for implementing $4 charges for curbside pickups and drop-offs by “transportation network companies” such as Uber and Lyft. The rate would increase 25 cents a year until hitting $5 in 2024.

The plan also raises fees for other modes of commercial ground transportation at the airport.

Uber and Lyft have been operating at the city-owned airport with $2.66 fees for pickups and no charge for drop-offs. It would be up to the companies, should they continue to serve the airport, do decide whether to absorb higher costs or pass them on to riders.

The ride-hailing companies have been saying they would end Sky Harbor service if the fees went into effect.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio, a staunch opponent of the plan that passed by a 7-2 vote (twice, after a procedural error the first time), called Thursday’s ruling “a major disappointment.”

“At the end of the day, this ruling and what the city of Phoenix is going to do with it is going to end up sticking it to the middle class and the ones that can barely afford it,” he told KTAR News’ The Mike Broomhead Show.

DiCiccio said he hopes the city reevaluates its intention to implement the fees at this time. He also said he’s reaching out to the rideshare companies in an effort to keep them serving the airport.

Council members Thelda Williams and Debra Stark released a joint statement calling Thursday’s ruling “good news,” and Michael Nowakowski said he was “pleased” with it.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup 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

Kandy Ho, left, and Mýa have joined the lineup for the 2021 Phoenix Pride Festival at Steel Indian...
KTAR.com

Upcoming Phoenix Pride Festival adds Grammy winner to lineup

The upcoming Phoenix Pride Festival has replaced one of its featured performers with a Grammy Award winner, with Mýa taking Melanie Fiona's spot.
5 hours ago
(Chompie's Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Chompie’s deli set to open its largest restaurant near site of original Phoenix location

Chompie's is set to open its fifth, and largest, standalone location next week about a mile from where its original Phoenix location debuted in 1979.
5 hours ago
(Facebook photo/SOHO Scottsdale)...
KTAR.com

Asian-American fusion concept Buddha’s Ritual to debut in Scottsdale

The couple behind two Valley restaurants is set to debut a new Asian-American fusion concept in Scottsdale later this fall.
5 hours ago
(Facebook photo/Lowell Observatory)...
KTAR.com

Flagstaff Lowell Observatory to reopen general admission next month

Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff is set to reopen for general admission on Nov. 15 after a 20 month period where the facility was either closed or offered limited programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
5 hours ago
(Pixabay photo)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix man sentenced to 30 months in prison for possession of meth, intent to distribute

A Phoenix man has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, authorities said Wednesday.
5 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Man in critical condition after collision between dirt bike and Phoenix Police SUV

A man riding a dirt bike was taken to the hospital in critical condition Wednesday evening after being involved in a collision with a fully marked Phoenix Police SUV, authorities said.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
...
BARROW NEUROLOGICAL INSTITUTE

More stroke patients eligible for acute treatment, thanks to research

Historically, patients underwent acute stroke treatments according to strict time guidelines. But thanks to recent advancements in stroke research, more patients are becoming candidates for clot-busting drugs and endovascular therapy at specialized centers like Barrow Neurological Institute.
Arizona’s high court upholds new Phoenix airport Uber, Lyft fees