Baton Rouge Metro Airport will soon charge Lyft a $3 fee for each ridesharing pickup at its facility, a move that's expected to help defray losses in revenue from people renting cars at the airport.
The East Baton Rouge Metro Council voted Wednesday evening to green-light contract negotiations between the on-demand car service and the airport commission. The contract, which has yet to be finalized, is expected to go into effect on November 1.
The airport is also putting the finishing touches on a new cell lot that will have designated parking spaces for on-demand drivers to wait for calls. After receiving a call, drivers will pickup passengers at a curbside terminal-front spot specially set aside for ridesharing cars.
Currently, police officers ask ridesharing drivers to show them their apps proving they’re waiting for an active rider. If they haven’t been called, they’re asked to move on.
That’s to prevent them from gaining a competitive advantage over other drivers and from cab drivers who pay a $400 annual fee of that allows them to wait curbside for customers.
The airport currently averages around 3,000 ridesharing pickups a month. Other ridesharing apps like Uber are expected to enter into similar contract agreements. There is currently no fee in place.
The proposed contract would bring the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport in-line with how many of its peers nationwide have adapted to the new technology. Most airports charge ridesharing companies a fee of $3 to $5 per pickup, according to Jim Caldwell, an airport spokesman.
The proliferation of ridesharing apps has eaten away at some of the airport's traditional revenue streams, like parking fees or fees on rental car transactions. The new fee, which will be added to the fare rideshare passengers already pay, will help make up for that loss.
“As ridesharing continues to increase in popularity, the fee that we’ll be charging is going to allow us to continue to make infrastructure upgrades so that we’re not in the situation like some other airports where suddenly we have this big traffic problem,” said Mike Edwards, the airport’s director of aviation.
The airport also set up a “geo-fence” around the access points to the terminal front that will automatically record when a driver enters the area to pick up a passenger.