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.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Jose Dioicio Buelna. (Arizona Attorney General's Office Photo)...
KTAR.com

Arizona man sentenced to 5 years for selling fentanyl

An Arizona man was sentenced to five years in prison last week for his role in a drug trafficking organization, authorities said. 
1 day ago
(Tempe Police Screenshot)...
KTAR.com

Watch: Vehicle left in drive rams through Tempe shop

A pair of men narrowly avoided serious injury after a vehicle left in drive rammed through the front of a Tempe shop on Thursday afternoon.
1 day ago
Arizona activists want Gov. Doug Ducey, right, to denounce state Sen. Wendy Rogers over her respons...
Kevin Stone

Arizona political coalition urges Gov. Doug Ducey to condemn Sen. Wendy Rogers

An Arizona political coalition is calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to condemn state Sen. Wendy Rogers over her response to the Buffalo shooting.
1 day ago
(Chandler Police Screenshot)...
Danny Shapiro

Prosecutors don’t charge Chandler officer in fatal shooting of teen

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced Thursday it would not charge an officer who fatally shot a teenager in the back in Chandler early last year.
1 day ago
(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)...
SuElen Rivera

AAA expects busy roads in Arizona for Memorial Day weekend despite rising gas prices

Despite the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Phoenix reaching $5 last week, AAA expects more travelers for this Memorial Day weekend compared to last year. 
1 day ago
(Walmart Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Look! Up in the Arizona sky! It’s a Walmart delivery drone!

Walmart announced plans to launch, literally, a delivery service using aerial drones in Arizona and five other states.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
(Twitter photo / Coco5)...
Coco5

Suns star Devin Booker’s all-natural sports drink Coco5 perfect for any activity

Devin Booker is leading the Suns in pursuit of their first NBA championship while also working to provide people proper hydration with Coco5.
Arizona’s high court upholds new Phoenix airport Uber, Lyft fees