Ridesharing has changed the business trip more than just about anything else in recent memory (except maybe PreCheck!). Luckily, the phenomenon is now pervasive in most cities around the world. But, when it comes to highly regulated airports, it’s still hit or miss. You never really know if you can or can’t legally use your app when you step off the plane.
So we try to keep TravelSkills readers up to date on that front…
In airport ride-sharing developments, passenger pick-ups could start next week at Seattle-Tacoma, a new competitor starts up at San Diego, UberX and Lyft lift off at Milwaukee, and approval moves ahead for New Orleans.
March 31 is the launch date for ride-sharing services to begin passenger pick-ups at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, assuming that operators like Lyft and Uber can sign agreements with the Port of Seattle by then. The port authority has authorized the use of ride-sharing firms, which it calls Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), for a one-year test period. The airport designated an area on the third floor of its parking garage for arriving passengers to meet drivers, and it will assess a fee of $5 per pick-up. One innovative requirement set by the port authority is a “green standard” for ride-sharing services. That standard “establishes a threshold for emissions based on fleet weighted average MPG, deadheading, and pooling or ridesharing for unrelated passengers,” the airport said. “If TNC’s do not meet the environmental performance standards after six-month and nine-month periods, an additional $5 per trip fee will be incurred until standards are reached.”
After running a limited pilot program for a few months, ride-sharing service Wingz has officially started operations at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field, taking on Uber and Lyft with a slightly different concept. Like those two operators, Wingz uses app-based bookings via iPhone or Android, and its drivers use their own vehicles, but it quotes a flat price. The rate may be slightly higher than the lowest rates of Uber or Lyft, but it will not change based on levels of demand. A Wingz ride from Lindbergh Field to downtown San Diego is estimated to cost around $25. With San Diego, it now operates at 16 airports, mostly in California.
Passenger pick-ups by UberX and Lyft started last week at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Before that, only Uber Black and Uber SUV pick-ups were permitted. The approval of UberX and Lyft is for a 90-day pilot period, the newspaper said, and the airport will collect a $3 fee per passenger for pick-ups. The airport has designated a pick-up area between baggage carousels 1 and 2, through doors marked “Exit to Ticketing.”
Approval for ride-sharing services to pick up passengers at New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport moved ahead last week, but no start-up date has been set. Last week, the Aviation Board that oversees the airport approved a resolution to authorize ride-sharing pick-ups and to develop a new fee structure that will cover Uber and Lyft passenger pick-ups, but the actual fee levels still have to be determined. According to the website nola.com, the airport’s general counsel said that the ride-sharing companies have “an unequivocal constitutional right” to pick up passengers, but the city’s taxi drivers are challenging that notion: They have filed a lawsuit to block UberX and Lyft, and a court hearing is slated for April 1.
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