Legal airport rideshare nears reality

Legal airport rideshare nears reality

By Cosby Woodruff –

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are a single step from being able to provide legal, regulated service at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport.

Atlanta City Council is expected to consider Mayor Kasim Reed’s proposal at Monday’s meeting after the council’s transportation committee forwarded it.

The plan would allow rideshare companies to begin picking up passengers at the airport without risking a citation. There would be fees, background checks and a special area for the cars to congregate.

Fees would include a $50 per car, up to $100,000 per service provider, annual permit and a $1.50 per ride fee. Drivers also would have to collect $2.35 per ride fee for a security fee, bringing the total fee to $3.85 per ride.

It is those fees that cause the greatest concern for Uber, according to Luke Marklin, general manager of Uber Atlanta.

“Travelers at the world’s busiest airport expect the safe, affordable transportation options Uber provides,” he said. The city’s proposal is largely consistent with the comprehensive state law passed last year and more than 70 airport agreements throughout the country. While we have concerns about additional fees for riders and requirements for driver-partners in this legislation, today marks a positive step forward for ridesharing at Hartsfield-Jackson.”

The legislation would require rideshare vehicles to display airport pickup stickers and would limit the age of vehicles from rideshare and taxi companies to seven model years.

Drivers would have the option to have a background check provided by a private firm, replacing an earlier proposal that would have required fingerprint checks.

The airport also will create a staging area for rideshare services. This will keep them out of the taxi line and away from the cell phone parking lot, where people picking up friends and family wait for a call to upon arrival.

Rideshare drivers parking in the cell phone lot and waiting for a customer to request a ride has long been an issue at the airport, and it has drawn complaints for other for-hire drivers and, on occasion, citations from the airport.

Uber declined to estimate the number of rides it would pick up under the new plan.