PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A state lawmaker is calling for T.F. Green Airport to lower its pick-up fee for ride-sharing companies after Uber suspended services there.
Rep. Gregory Costantino plans to introduce a bill this week that would limit the fees T.F. Green charges Uber drivers to $3. He said that was fee the airport used to charge ride-sharing services until the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) in August bumped it up to $6 for pickups, with no fee for drop-offs.
RIAC has since cut the fee back to $5 per pickup.
Uber announced Friday its drivers would no longer be picking up passengers at the airport because of the ongoing fee dispute. On Monday, the company officially suspended services at the airport, and airport officials covered the Uber logo at the ride-share pick-up stations, located in the short-term parking lot, with smiley faces.
RIAC said it increased the price after revenue from rental cars and long-term parking began to decline because of the increasing popularity of ride-sharing services. Taxis currently pay $1.50 to pick up passengers.
“I think it really sends the wrong message to the business community,” Costantino said. “If you are coming to the state to do business, what a message to send that nationally, Uber has left the state of Rhode Island.”
Uber said it has been able to work with airports around the country to reduce these fees such as Atlanta, where fees are $3.85, and Memphis, where fees are $2. The company said it has also worked with Logan Airport in Boston, which has a fee of $3.25.
The ride-share company claims the fees at T.F. Green are some of the highest in the country. A statement RIAC spokesman Bill Fischer disputes.
Citing a study on airport ride-sharing fees, Fischer listed several airports that charge more than T.F. Green.
- Seattle – $6 for pickup
- Orlando – $5.80 for pickup
- Chicago – $5.50 each way / $11 round trip
- Detroit – $5 each way / $10 round trip
In an attempt to reach a deal with Uber, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation said it made an offer last month to lower the fee they charge Uber drivers to pick up passengers by $1.
“Obviously, the people have to pay that,” Costantino said. “So, it’s the people of Rhode Island that are paying the fee.”
Gov. Gina Raimondo said she is disappointed in Uber and the RIAC for not coming to a compromise.
“Remember the Rhode Islander who deserves to get off the plane and get in an Uber,” Raimondo said. “So, come back to the table, negotiate, compromise, get it done.”
A spokesperson for Lyft said while the company will continue to provide rides for passengers at T.F. Green, they also believe the fees are too high.
Correction: This story has been edited to make it clear that the pick-up fee at T.F. Green is now $5. Additional information has also been added about fees other airports charge ride-sharing companies.