Uber, Lyft Fees Could Increase At Phoenix Sky Harbor

Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2019 - 4:01pm
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 8:52am

Fees for Uber and Lyft rides to and from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport could increase under a proposal before the Phoenix City Council.

The current $2.66 fee, charged only when passengers are picked up at the airport terminals by rideshare companies, would increase to $4 in 2020, according to a proposal drafted by airport officials.

The fee would also apply to passengers who get dropped off at the airport, meaning the round trip cost of getting to the airport via rideshare would spike to $8. 

By 2024, that cost would increase to $10 under a plan to gradually raise the fee.

Airport officials say the fee increase is needed to help cover costs related to the airport’s ground transportation infrastructure, which includes the roads and curbs where taxis and rideshare companies drop off and pick up drivers.

It also includes the cost of the Sky Train, an automated train that takes passengers to and from airport terminals, parking lots and a Valley Metro Station. Piper Overstreet, a lobbyist for Uber, told the Phoenix City Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure and Innovation Subcommittee that the airport is asking rideshare passengers to subsidize the Sky Train by way of the fee hike.

“We recognize that the airport generates costs with respect to the day to day management of (rideshare) operations,’ Overstreet said on Oct. 2. “As such, Uber supports the airport in setting trip fees that cover those costs. What we cannot support is this shakedown of a fee proposal that is not proportional to our impact on the airport.”

Deputy Aviation Director Jordan Feld told the subcommittee it makes sense that rideshare companies stand to gain from the increased use of Sky Train. And the airport, which is financially self-sustaining, relies on the businesses that operate at Sky Harbor to help cover the cost of airport operations.

It’s no different than airlines, which help pay to cover the cost of taxiways and runways, Feld said.

“[Airlines] all have some direct benefit from something at the airport, and generally speaking, our finance director ties that cost to that direct benefit,” Feld told the subcommittee. “Of all the business lines at the airport, the most direct beneficiary of less congestion on the roadway are the [ground transportation] providers.”

The subcommittee unanimously approved the fee increase, which would also raise fees for other modes of grand transportation.

The entire plan won’t take effect, however, unless the full city council approves it.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio announced his opposition to the fee hike on Oct. 8. In a statement, DiCiccio decried the fee as a tax hike on airport passengers.

“All this is, is another tax on everyday citizens — the ones who can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars parking their car at the airport but still want the convenience and time-saving benefits of individual transportation,” DiCiccio said.

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