City Hall wanted to charge airport passengers who use Uber and Lyft an extra $3 each time they are dropped off or picked up a fare. But, the city council, led by sixth-district councilman Garry Bredefeld said no. So, for now, ride sharing companies will operate at Fresno Yosemite International Airport as normal.
The item was initially on the council’s consent calendar, meaning it would be passed in one vote with other routine city items. It could be set aside for more discussion if a council member wishes so. Bredefeld exercised that wish.
“I think (the fees) are unfair. I’ve said all along we tax too much on the state level and the federal level. And, we’re doing it here. So, I can’t support this,” Bredefeld said on the dais.
Dan Weber, the airport’s assistant director of aviation services was the designated city employee to be grilled by council. “You’re in the shooting gallery, it’s nothing personal against you,” council president Clint Olivier told him.
Weber told council the city planned to collect $108,000 a year on the fees (based on 3,000 trips a month at $3 each). That would help offset the estimated $4.64 the city is losing in parking fees, they blame on ride-sharing companies. But Weber did admit, “that’s not going to make or break anything,” as to the impact of the revenue.
The amount of fees did not sit well with councilman Oliver Baines. He told Weber that if they are going to charge a fee, charge the full amount and their logic to charge only $3 is flawed. He also called it unfair to go after companies like Uber and Lyft.
Esmeralda Soria and Clint Olivier also expressed concerns about the fee structure. Olivier felt it was unwise to stick the fee to the rider, using an example of a “slob” taking Uber to catch a plane to a funeral.
As each council person spoke, the chances City Hall would get its wish diminished. No one was seemingly buying into the airport’s reasoning to stick ride sharing firms with the fee.
Council voted 5-1 (with Paul Capriogilio voting no and Steve Brandau not in attendance) to defeat the motion.
Contact David Taub
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