[Author: Elvia Díaz]
Why do Phoenix officials want to slap a $5.34 fee on Uber and Lyft users at Sky Harbor International Airport?
Because they can.
Phoenix City Council members are scheduled to decide Oct. 16 whether to go ahead with the recommendation from airport officials, who say the fee would help recover a good chunk of the $26 million spent on curbs, roadways and the Sky Train.
Are you kidding me?
I’ve known city officials to be thoughtful and thorough in their approach to managing city services, including large self-financed enterprises like the airport. But I’m scratching my head over this astronomical fee for Uber and Lyft users.
Travelers don’t need better signs, Wi-Fi
They did their homework to show that many airports across the nation have similar ride-share fees. But that doesn’t make right it for Phoenix.
Under the proposal, beginning next January Uber and Lyft users would pay $1.34 more (it’s $2.66 currently) to be picked up at the airport and $4 (there’s no fee currently) to be dropped off.
That’s a $5.34 increase for a round-trip ride, reports The Republic’s Melissa Yeager. Plus, the drop-off fee would increase to $4.25 in 2021 and $4.50 in 2022.
Riders would get a 30% discount in that fee when they choose to be dropped off away from the terminal at places like the 44th Street Sky Train station, according to Yeager’s coverage.
In exchange for that fee, users would get things like improved signage for ride-share services and better technical infrastructure like Wi-Fi so they can better track their ride.
What’s wrong with the Wi-Fi and signage now?
I’m not a frequent traveler. But the Wi-Fi worked just fine, and I don’t have any problems finding the share-services location in the half-dozen times a year I go through the airport.
It’s not their duty to help pay for Sky Train
There really isn’t a good reason to slap users with these fees. Expectedly, Uber and Lyft are opposing the proposal, but if those companies want any improved amenities, they should pay for them, not users or the airport.
It doesn’t make sense either to slap Uber and Lyft users with the cost of the Sky Train that connects to the light rail line. I’m a huge fan of light rail as a mass transit alternative. However, we know the system still is in its infancy and not yet entirely convenient for the sprawling metropolis.
Uber and Lyft is a convenient system. Why should their customers subsidize a service that doesn’t benefit them?
Council members would have a lot of explaining to do if they ultimately slap users with these additional fees. They shouldn’t do it just because they can.