Phoenix Council Gives Uber, Lyft Green Light To Sky Harbor Airport

Published: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - 8:33am
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Freeway exit to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

By a 5-to-4 vote, Phoenix City Council has approved an overhaul of the airport's ground transportation plan which will allow ride-sharing services and include a new fee system.

The four council members who voted against the plan all said they support Uber and Lyft, but they oppose the fee system.

Depending on how many seats are in their vehicles, drivers would pay anywhere from $2.75 to $11 to pick up passengers. Executives with two off-site parking companies that currently pay flat fees to the airport told council members the change would be devastating.  

“My business cannot sustain an 8,000 percent increase in fees," said David Warren, owner of Blue Sky Airport Parking. "The parking business is not a cash cow."

John Walsh with Pre-Flight Parking said the $6 per pick-up at Sky Harbor would be the highest of the airports that they serve, “We pay $140,000 a year. The proposed fee would have us paying about $400,000 a year.” 

Under the current system, Sky Harbor says taxis and shuttle companies are paying more than their fair share-– in essence, subsidizing other for-profit companies. The airport says it needs about $10 million a year to support commercial ground transportation costs, things like city staff, roadway expenses and landscaping.  

"If we're subsidizing transportation that has a cost elsewhere and we have to take that into account," said Councilwoman Kate Gallego who voted in support of the policy.

Councilman Bill Gates said, “I think the fee increase is completely out of whack."

He wanted to ask his colleagues to postpone the fee vote and study the issue more, but in a procedural move Mayor Greg Stanton stepped in and called for a substitute motion that blocked Gates. After three hours of discussion, the council voted to approve the whole policy. The law requires it be posted for 60 days before the council takes a final vote in early May. 

See the City Council presentation below:

One Source, My Connection!