City to Decide on Charging Lyft, Uber for Airport Rides
Getting a ride to and from the airport may become more costly.
In a February speech, Mayor Lee Brand said he wanted Fresno to “start getting its share” from transportation companies like Uber and Lyft. On Thursday, the city council will consider a proposal to charge such businesses to make pickups and drop-offs at Fresno Yosemite International.
The Airports Department is asking for a $3 dollar fee each way for Transportation Network Companies (TNC), what the state calls those ride-sharing companies. There would be no annual charge.
The fee is similar to what the busiest airports in the state charge:
Currently, the fees are on council’s consent agenda (item 1-G), 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.
The airport lies within the district of councilman Paul Caprioglio. He tells GV Wire he is in favor of the fees. “It’s standard and seems appropriate. Why shouldn’t we revenue raise?”
The fees are still causing some tension between the taxi cab industry and the new technology. “How can they operate under a regular license, when they engaging in a commercial operation?” asks a member of the local taxi community who asked his name not be used for fear of retaliation. “There is no difference between a taxi and Uber and Lyft but an ap.”
According the taxi driver, the city charges $225 for a permit for each car. When informed that there would be no permit charge for Uber or Lyft, the reply: “They should charge them more.”
One of the company’s affected by the proposal isn’t happy with it either.
“While we understand ground transportation fees are a part of doing business, the fee structure proposed is massively disproportionate to the size of the Fresno Yosemite Airport. Lyft works with airports across the country to provide modern, affordable transportation options to travelers, and we are hopeful we will be able to find a way forward here as well,” Chelsea Harrison, Lyft’s Senior Policy Communications Manger tells GV Wire.
According to a city staff report, the airport estimates it experienced a reduction of public parking use in the last year since Uber and Lyft has been allowed to serve FAT. They put that number as $4.64 for each drop-off or pickup. The city also estimates a yearly revenue of $108,000 in these fees (based on 3,000 trips a month). As for how the airport will use the money, the report states “the revenue will be deposited into the Airports Enterprise Fund and will support FATs operations and maintenance costs, facilities capital program, long term capital needs, and will ensure future investment grade bond ratings.”
FAT also plans to create a dedicated curb space in front of the terminal for ride sharing companies to conduct business.
If passed, the fees would go into effect May 1. Uber and Lyft have operated at the airport without a fee since last year.[Update: this story has added information (April 6, 4:27p) regarding how much revenue will be collected by the airport and how it will be used]
Harrison photo credit: LinkedIn
Contact David Taub
Phone: 559-492-4037 / e-mail
This story was not subject to the approval of Granville Homes.