October 9, 2019
By Jenna Bentley

For Phoenix residents and visitors, using ride-share services is a cheaper and more convenient way of getting to and from Sky Harbor Airport. Unfortunately, that convenience may soon come at a higher price.

There is a proposal before the Phoenix City Council that would make it more expensive to ride-share to and from Sky Harbor Airport by increasing existing fees by 200 percent. Worse, this fee will only apply to ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft, not to conventional taxis. Why does Sky Harbor want this fee? To pay for Sky Harbor’s Sky Train. What do ride-share companies have to do with the Sky Train? Well…not much. Despite this, Sky Harbor is asking ride share users to pay roughly 80 percent of the costs to operate the Sky Train.

Currently, when you take a ride-share from Sky Harbor, you pay a $2.66 pick-up fee that goes to the airport. However, Sky Harbor now wants to immediately increase the pick-up fee to $4 and create an additional drop-off fee of $4, bringing your total fees to $8 in addition to the cost of the trip itself. This plan would go into effect starting on January 1, 2020.

Uber has issued a statement in opposition to this proposal: “The 200 percent fee increase being considered by the Phoenix City Council unfairly burdens rideshare customers and could disproportionately impact cost-conscious riders.”

In additional to the creation of a new pick-up fee and increase in the current drop-off fee, Sky Harbor wants both fees to increase every year. Under this proposed plan, you will have to pay a $10 fee minimum just to get to and from Sky Harbor via ride-share by 2024, on top of the normal trip charges. From 2025 on, these airport ride-share fees will be tied to inflation and will automatically increase each year, without permission by the Phoenix City Council. These fees will make Sky Harbor’s ride-share fees among the most expensive not just in the U.S., but globally.

While not all airports impose ride-share fees, a 2019 study by the City of Phoenix Aviation Dept found that combined pick-up and drop-off fees at comparable airports is $5.60. Sky Harbor is looking to double that.

To make matters worse, it would only be ride-sharing customers paying this fee. Other services, like taxis, would see a reduction in their pick-up and drop-off fees to only $1.25 each way. “Any new fee structure should be equitable to all Sky Harbor users and ground transportation providers,” said Uber in their statement opposing the measure.

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio agrees with Uber’s concerns, calling the proposal a “money grab” and urging the public to speak out before it’s too late. 

Contact the Phoenix City Council before October 16, 2019 and ask them to keep riding affordable HERE.

Jenna Bentley is the Director of Government Affairs for the Goldwater Institute.

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