Uber says it is shutting down its popular ride-sharing service to Fresno Yosemite International because of the possibility of new fees for pickups and dropoffs at the airport, as well as existing trip-tracking requirements.
“We have been in ongoing negotiations with the Fresno Yosemite International Airport over the past few months,” said a statement from Uber released late Monday. “Unfortunately, the new fees and data requirements proposed by the airport go above and beyond requirements in place for airports of comparable size across the region.”
Kevin Meikle, director of airports for the city, said Uber opted to discontinue the agreement Monday and activated an electronic “geofence” around the airport where its drivers can no longer go. “If you go to the Uber app and request service to or from the airport, it tells you that the service isn’t available,” Meikle said. “We checked it.”
Fresno currently does not charge a fee for ride-share pickups or dropoffs. Last month, the Fresno City Council turned down a proposal by the airport to begin charging $3 for each trip by ride-share drivers to pick up or drop off passengers at Fresno Yosemite International. The fee was proposed to help make up a decline in revenue from the airport parking lots over the past year as more passengers turn to Uber and Lyft to get to and from the airport.
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Per-trip charges at airports across the state include $4 at Los Angeles International, $3.85 at Oakland International, $3.80 at San Francisco International, $3 at both Long Beach Airport and Monterey Regional Airport. Several other airports only charge for trips to pick up passengers and not for drop-offs.
We want them back. We hope they will come back.
Kevin Meikle, director of airports for the city of Fresno
Meikle said Rasier-CA LLC – which does business as Uber – had operated under an operating agreement with the city since 2016. The California Public Utilities Commission forbids “transportation network companies” such as Uber and Lyft from doing business at California airports without an operating agreement with individual airports.
Lyft continues to serve the Fresno airport, Meikle said Monday afternoon.
One of the city’s requirements is that TNCs enable tracking and reporting of their drivers’ trips to the airport through a third-party clearinghouse.
According to Uber’s website, Rasier LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the company that partners with ridesharing drivers. All Uber drivers have a contract with Rasier.
Meikle did not have a breakdown of how many rides Uber has been providing to the airport since June. But together, Uber and Lyft have been averaging about 3,700 trips to and from the airport each month. Meikle said it is his understanding that in most airport markets, Uber has about 80 percent of the market share. “Fresno is probably very similar to those other airports,” he added. “But Lyft actually started at our airport first, in February 2016, so they had a head start.”
There are no fees or charges associated with the operating agreement or for coordinating with the tracking clearinghouse. Meikle said the tracking information is used to help the airport make plans for its future infrastructure needs, including whether or not a future expansion of airport parking is necessary as rideshare companies have an effect on the numbers of passengers using the parking lots.
Meikle said he is hopeful Uber will reconsider its decision.
“We want them back; we hope they will come back,” he said. “We’re continuing to reach out to them, to stay in contact.”
Uber’s statement said the company looks forward to further discussions with the airport.