Taxi rides to and from LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy, and Newark airports could soon get more expensive if Port Authority has it their way. In a new proposal, the agency is calling for a $4 “access fee” that would require all passengers being picked up and dropped off via car service, including Uber and Lyft. The money would then be used to fund airport enhancements, like a new taxi dispatch system, reports the NY Daily News (h/t Gothamist).
Though every other major airport in the country has a similar surcharge in place, the proposal is already being met with fierce opposition. In a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, public advocate Letitia James called for the Port Authority to abandon the proposal, stating that the $4 fee would create even more of a burden for New Yorkers.
“At a time when access to New York City’s airports is already limited, the Port Authority should be focused on improving public transportation options, not increasing burdens on consumers,” James said.
Passengers wouldn’t be the only ones affected by the fee. “[S]truggling taxi drivers would be working to subsidize this billion-dollar entity instead of supporting their families," said New York Taxi Workers Alliance director Bhairavi Desai.
However, not everyone is against the proposal. In fact, a spokesperson for Lyft stated that the company supports the idea because it would guarantee that they can operate at the city’s airports. However, an Uber spokesperson expressed the exact opposite. “We share the entire industry’s concerns and look forward to an extensive public review process to better understand what steps the Port Authority will be taking to improve customer experience beyond sticking New Yorkers and tourists with excessive fees,” the company said.
If the proposal moves forward, the fee would go into effect beginning in 2018. Just last week, Port Authority approved an unprecedented $32 billion 10-year Capital Plan that would allow for a new bus terminal and upgrades to all of the city’s airports.