Uber drivers may be ticketed at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

Dawn Gilbertson
The Republic |
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Gateway Airport in the Southeast Valley.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is cracking down on Uber drivers who drop off and pick up passengers because the ride-sharing service is not authorized to operate there.

The east Mesa airport, home to dozens of Allegiant Air flights, has asked Mesa Police Department officers assigned to the airport to start citing Uber drivers for trespassing.

"We know they're doing business here,'' airport spokesman Ryan Smith said, noting that some Uber drivers direct arriving passengers to a pick-up spot across the street.

Ride-sharing services have been allowed at Gateway since late 2016, but Uber has yet to sign a required operating agreement. This despite asking the airport to revise its ground transportation rules to allow ride sharing, Smith said.

Lyft, a major Uber competitor, signed an agreement and has been operating at Gateway for nearly 10 months, paying a $2 fee per pick-up and drop-off. 

Uber spokeswoman Stephanie Sedlak said the company wants to operate at Gateway and is negotiating with the airport. She declined to discuss sticking points. Uber has agreements to operate at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Tucson International Airport.

Asked about the airport's claim that Uber is illegally picking up and dropping off passengers, Sedlak said in a statement, "We require our driver partners to follow the rules and regulations that govern authorized airport picks-ups and drop-offs while on active trips.''

Lyft has been averaging about 2,500 rides per month at Gateway, Smith said, and the airport believes the better-known Uber transports at least as many passengers, without paying the per-trip fee.

Sky Harbor, one of the nation's busiest airports, charges ride-sharing companies $3.25 per trip but only for passenger pick-ups. The airport does not regulate drop-offs. Sky Harbor added the ride-sharing services in June 2016.

Uber and Lyft, which compete with airport taxis, shuttles and sedan services, pass airport fees along to passengers.

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