Uber, Lyft drivers charged $6 per airport pick-up

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – A new pick-up policy at T.F. Green airport is costing rideshare drivers $6 a trip.

According to the policy, all rideshare pickups have to happen in “Lot D,” the short-term parking lot in front of the terminal.

The minimum charge for the short-term lot is $6.

Angel Barazza drives for Uber and Lyft. He believes the new policy is unfair and expensive.

“The fact that we have to come into this lot and pay $6 every single time we come in here, whether it’s credit card or cash, I actually think it’s horrible!” Barazza said.

“I know $6 isn’t a lot, but you know $6 every single time you come here, it builds up,” he added.

The fee is charged to riders and drivers are reimbursed.

In an emailed statement to Eyewitness News, a spokesperson for the Rhode Island Airport Corporation said, “Self-sustaining airports do charge access fees to commercial vehicles that pick up and drop off on airport roadways and parking areas…. Rideshare and TNC companies such as Uber and Lyft were using the airport without compensation to the airport, an unfair advantage to other business partners who have agreements with the airport.”

“Basically, it has to come out of our pockets,” Barazza said. “Some people I know, before this happened, were just doing airport runs and they completely stopped doing the airport because of the $6.”

Airport Taxi dispatcher German Nunez said even with the new policy, ridesharing continues to cut into business.

“It hasn’t changed at all,” Nunez said. “A lot of taxi drivers, they’re really frustrated with Uber coming in and taking all the jobs. We try to fight. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

Rideshare drivers who ignore the new pickup policy could face an $85 fine.

Uber responded to the pickup policy in a statement to Eyewitness News: “Our goal is to ensure residents and visitors can affordably get a ride in Rhode Island. We are eager to continue discussions with T.F. Green regarding our airport operations.”

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.