Although they often meet with stiff resistance from local officials and taxi drivers, ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft continue to make slow but certain progress in their fight for the right to pick up passengers at major airports. Three of the latest battlegrounds are Newark, Atlanta and Phoenix.
We reported recently that Newark’s city prosecutor had threatened to have police start towing the vehicles of Uber and Lyft drivers this week if they were caught waiting for passengers at Newark Liberty International Airport. But now there’s apparently been a change of heart. According to local media, Newark public safety officials have now promised that the city will not start towing cars at the airport, and said they would meet with the city prosecutor and his staff in a bid to work things out. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey also said it would not act against the ride-sharing drivers. UPDATE: It seems the City of Newark has flip-flopped on this and the ban is back on according to NY Post (We will monitor status)
Airport officials at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson are said to be getting close to announcing a plan that would allow ride-sharing services to make passenger pick-ups legally at the nation’s busiest airport. Some drivers have reportedly been operating on the sly at ATL, taking the risk of getting a ticket, but a firm plan to legitimize ride-sharing pick-ups has been long overdue. According to Atlanta’s WSB-TV, airport officials are expected to “soon go public” with an approval plan. Noting that such a plan is half a year behind schedule due to rabid opposition from taxi drivers, the station quoted an airport spokesperson as saying that there is clear customer demand for ride-sharing, and that the airport is “fine-tuning” legislation to legalize pick-ups at ATL. The station said the airport is expected to designate pick-up spots for Uber and Lyft drivers, and noted that police have routinely been patrolling the cell phone waiting area, telling ride-share drivers to move out.
The Phoenix Aviation Advisory Board has passed a new policy for ground transportation at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport that would clear the way for UberX and Lyft to pick up arriving passengers. The measure still requires approval by the City Council, where it faces opposition from taxi services and other ground transportation providers (although it has public support from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey). The proposal would require drivers to pay a fee for each pick-up, but would ease up on some of the security requirements that officials had been demanding, like a fingerprint background check for drivers. According to the Arizona Republic, the ride-sharing services could start picking up arrivals at PHX by this summer.
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