Uber, Lyft get OK to serve D.C.-area airports

WASHINGTON – Ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft have been cleared to serve Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports — with a small catch.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority on Wednesday adopted new rules for transportation companies, expanding options for travelers going to or from the airports.

But the app-based services will be required to pay a $4 access fee with every pick-up and drop-off, a decision that the companies believe unfairly hinders them.

“What this does is artificially inflate the prices for an Uber ride,” says Taylor Bennett, an Uber spokesman. “We expect upwards of 25 percent increases in fares, which is an unfair increase for consumers.”

Under the new guidelines, the companies will pay a $5,000 one-time fee for a special permit to operate on airport premises.

Designated waiting areas at the airports will be installed for rideshare vehicles to reduce wait time.

Airports authority Chief Operating Officer Margaret McKeough says it’s unclear how much revenuethe fees will generate.

Ride sharing services have tangled with airports across the country with mixed results.

Some airports have kept them out entirely. More recently, the popular services have won victories, including at Los Angeles International Airport last month.

“Other airports that have done this [access fee] average about $2 per trip, and at $4 it’s greatly higher,” Bennett says.

He says Uber will continue pushing to have the access fee lowered.

MWAA’s new regulations take effect Nov. 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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