These drivers, who work as independent contractors, have been dropping off people without question for a while now because the airport only regulates passenger pick-ups. Sky Harbor recently adopted a new policy so Uber and Lyft drivers can join taxi, limo and shuttle bus drivers in the pick-up lines. But some critics worry they may not be as thoroughly vetted.
During Wednesday’s Phoenix City Council meeting, Councilwoman Thelma Williams joined the majority of her colleagues and voted for the new policy, but Williams also said she’s a firm believer in fingerprinting. “I also understand that the state has stepped in and that’s not an option for us at this time," she said.
Background check requirements were part of an overhaul of Sky Harbor's nearly 30-year-old ground transportation policy. It also includes a new fee structure which officials say will more evenly spread the costs and help raise money for the maintenance of roads around the airport. The airport estimates taxis, limousines, shuttles and other car services cost the airport about $10 million a year in maintenance.
The fee applies only to airport pick-ups and ranges from $3.25 to $9 based on the number of seats per vehicle. The fees will be phased in beginning in January and take effect immediately for new drivers who receive permits including Lyft and Uber contractors.