Airline passengers who have used Uber to get them to or from Fresno Yosemite International Airport will have to find a new ride.
The popular ride-sharing company has pulled the plug on its operating agreement with the airport and is no longer providing rides there, the airport announced Monday.
Kevin Meikle, director of airports for the city of Fresno, said Rasier-CA LLC – which does business as Uber – no longer wished to comply with the operating agreement it inked with the city in June 2016. The California Public Utilities Commission forbids “transportation network companies” or TNCs 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 on 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.
As of Monday, Meikle said Uber opted out of its agreement 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.”
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.
Last month, the Fresno City Council turned down a proposal by the airport to begin charging a $3 fee for each trip by rideshare drivers to pick up or drop off passengers at Fresno Yosemite International. The fee was proposed to help make up for 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.
As of late Monday afternoon, Uber did not respond to inquiries from The Bee about the company’s decision to discontinue service to the airport. Less than three weeks ago, Uber told The Bee that “we are working with the Fresno Yosemite International Airport to renew our airport permit and look forward to continuing to service the hundreds of riders and drivers that currently rely on Uber.”
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 that 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.”