Uber, Lyft rides to and from Tampa International Airport to get more expensive

$3 fee added to fares going to and from TIA
Posted at 10:45 PM, Aug 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-03 05:41:21-04

It's about to get more expensive to use Uber or Lyft when traveling from Tampa.

Airport officials will soon charge a fee for all rides going to and from Tampa International Airport.

Board members are set to vote on operating agreements with the popular ride-sharing companies Thursday morning.

The contract includes a $3 per trip fee for all rides.

ABC Action News has learned, the airport fee would jump to $5 per trip over the next two years.

"The question is 'who's going to pay the fee?' If it's the driver, nobody will be here. There will be no Uber or Lyft drivers here," one concerned driver told ABC Action News Wednesday.

In a statement to ABC Action News, Lyft says airport fees are collected from the passenger as part of the fare.

"While we are happy to be offering our services to Tampa passengers, we are concerned about the annual fee increases and are hopeful that we can revisit this part of the agreement after six months of operation to ensure that Lyft rides to and from the airport remain affordable for travelers," said Kirk Safford, a senior manager at Lyft.

Airport officials say the fee is only fair. Taxis, Limos and hotel shuttles pay to pick up passengers at Tampa International Airport.

"The trip fees for Uber, Lyft, taxis and other similar businesses are set in a way that allow us to recover our costs associated with commercial ground transportation," said Janet Zink with TIA. "It's similar to the way we work with the airlines, restaurants and rental car companies. They pay fees so we can operate and maintain the airport that supports their businesses."

At one time, working behind the wheel was so profitable, Brad Geesey dropped his part-time job. But he says those days are long gone.

"It tends to be tight," said Geesey. "You're working 70, 80 hours a week just to make ends meet, ain't worth it."

Geesey fears the new fee will cut even deeper into his bottom line.

"It's hurting the customers and it's going to hurt the drivers," said Geesey.

Tampa International Airport's regular board meeting starts at 9:00 a.m. Thursday.