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RIAC offered to reduce Uber fees in March, Uber declined

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RIAC will allow curbside Uber drop-offs to continue unimpeded

Warwick, RI – The Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) issued a statement today clarifying that Uber drop offs would continue unimpeded and without cost allowing riders to continue to utilize this convenient curbside transportation option. Federal law allows airports to dictate where transportation network companies can drop off and pickup passengers, regardless of Uber’s decision to suspend pickup service at T.F. Green, the airport will not make any logistical changes to the drop off arrangement that currently exists with Uber at this time.

“We made an offer to reduce our pickup fees in March and the counter offer made by Uber was simply not reflective of the fees other airports are charging throughout the country. Many airports charge both a pickup and drop off fee that combined exceeds our pickup fees. The narrative that T.F. Green has the
highest Uber fees in the country is simply not true,” said Bill Fischer, spokesperson for RIAC. “For the past several months, Uber has failed to negotiate in good faith and has purposely attempted to mislead the public about this issue.”

“We will be updating signage at the airport to let passengers know they have a safe and convenient option with Lyft. We will also be lowering the Lyft pickup fee to $5.00, which is the same reduced fee we offered Uber in March. Passengers can access Lyft pickup in Lot D, which is the closest parking area to the terminal. This is the same parking area used for limousine pickup,” added Fischer. “Uber has the option to return to the negotiating table to lessen the impact on their customers.” Background information:

1. Uber is engaged in a battle over fees with airports throughout the United States – this issue is not exclusive to T.F. Green.

2. Airports throughout the United States continue to raise their TNC airport fees. Seattle fees increased from $5.00 to $6.00 last year. Tampa is currently $3.00 for pickups, and later this year they will increase to $4.00. In 2019 that fee will increase to $5.00.

3. Many airports charge both a pickup and drop fee – that combined – exceeds the $6.00 RIAC was charging for pickups – RIAC was not charging for drop offs. Logic dictates that if you Uber to O’Hare and are charged a $5.50 drop off fee you will likely be using Uber when you return home and will be charged another $5.50 totaling $11.00 – or $5.00 higher than T.F. Green (Detroit charges $5.00 each way for a total of $10.00).

4. RIAC imposed the TNC fee last year without incident. For almost a year, Uber passengers had the ability to use Uber for pickups under this new system until Uber made the decision to suspend operations. Hardly anyone was talking about the TNC fees and RIAC rarely received complaints related to the fee structure.

5. Uber spread a false narrative that T.F. Green was the highest airport fee in the country, but conveniently failed to tell the general public and their customers that the airport did not charge a drop off fee.

6. RIAC offered to reduce the pickup fee to $5.00 earlier this year (March). Uber countered with an offer that was not inline with fees other airports are charging throughout the United States. The $5.00 RIAC was offering was essentially $2.50 each way – far and away inline or less than many other airports.

7. RIAC will increase marketing efforts and signage to encourage travelers to use Lyft. Many TNC drivers that support T.F. Green are both Lyft and Uber drivers.

8. Every airport in the country is approaching this matter differently and there is no wrong or right way. Each airport has been impacted differently in traditional airport revenue generating areas because of the popularity of TNC’s.

9. This is not an attempt to protect the taxi industry. RIAC realizes that TNC’s have changed consumer behavior. Since 2011, taxi trips on an annual basis have dropped from 70,000 per year to 50,000. RIAC has a month-to-month contract with Airport Taxi and they agree to generate $90,000 annually. Because of the annual revenue commitment their $1.50 per trip fee has risen to $1.80 and there is no reason to believe this will not continue to increase.

10. Every airport in the country has a different infrastructure layout. RIAC’s terminal access footprint is very small. RIAC made the decision to charge one way because it could divert drop off traffic one way, and pickup traffic another way. The logistics of passenger pickup and drop off need to recognize traffic flow and protect passengers. Drop offs are spread over a longer period of time, pick ups happen all at once, this factor helped form the decision to charge one way only.

11. RIAC made the decision to drive pickup traffic into Lot D to ensure the pickup fee was being captured. Lot D is the closest parking area to the airport. Lot D is also a safe pickup area for passengers and is the same lot used for limousine pickup.

12. Federal law requires airports to be self-sustaining. That means T.F. Green, like every other airport in the nation relies on revenue from airlines, limousines, rental car companies, parking, concessions and transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft to support operations, maintenance and capital improvements.

13. The fees are charged to support the airport, but this is a reciprocal relationship as these companies derive profits based off of airport usage.Contact:
Bill Fisher
401-862-4652
bfisher@tnorthcomm.com

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