TAMPA, Fla. -- It may soon cost more to take an Uber or Lyft home from Tampa International Airport, as a proposed new pickup fee could be approved by the airport’s board as early as August.
The proposed changes, which also include restructuring how the airport charges taxicabs, were negotiated between airport staff and interested parties, including rideshare companies.
The fees would be phased in over several years, with rideshare vehicles paying a $3 “cost recovery” fee to the airport for every trip to pick up passengers for the first year, which would increase to $4 next summer, then $5 in the summer of 2019.
Taxicabs would pay the same fees, rather than the current structure, which is based on overall airport passenger traffic. However, the taxicab fee schedule may be delayed by approximately six months as the airport works to install plate-reading technology to keep track of the taxi trips. Other for-hire vehicles, such as hotel shuttles and courtesy vehicles would start paying fees as well, starting at $2.50/pickup next year and climbing to $4.50/pickup in 2020.
The fees help pay for the operation of the airport’s ground transportation facilities. Taxicabs, limos, and shared shuttles accounted for the majority of the $1.2 million the airport raised in pickup fees. But that number could grow to $5.4 million in just a few years thanks to the new fees.
So far, Uber and Tampa International have only agreed to the first year of the phased-in fees, with a second one-year option included in the deal. But Uber suggested the $5/pickup fee was steeper than recently-approved airport fees in Miami ($2/pickup), Fort Myers ($2), West Palm Beach ($2.50), and Fort Lauderdale ($3).
A Tampa International Airport spokesperson pointed to the $5.80/pickup fee recently-approved by Orlando International Airport.
Lyft's Senior Director of U.S. Operations, Bakari Brock, told 10Investigates in an emailed statement, "We're encouraged by the conversations we've been having with the team at Tampa International Airport and are currently reviewing the final details of the agreement. We hope to finalize our agreement as soon as possible in order to create the best experience for our passengers and drivers at the airport."