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Airport board approves transportation ordinance setting Uber, taxi fees

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By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com
Published Feb. 23, 2016

Uber can now operate at Charleston International Airport and taxi drivers will not have their fees cut as previously proposed, according to a new ordinance.

After months of wrangling with how to regulate Uber and appease cab companies, the Charleston County Aviation Authority board approved a new transportation ordinance during a board meeting Thursday.

When the state legalized Uber in July, the authority had to decide how to regulate the app-based transportation service at the airport. The ordinance has been in discussion for months.

The new agreement officially allows Uber to work at the airport. Uber drivers must pay a $3.50 fee per pickup to the authority as an annual permit fee.

The new ordinance also keeps taxi fees the same; that decision comes after numerous complaints from cab companies in board meetings over the past few months.

During discussions, one of the sticking points was a proposal to decrease the $14 fee taxi drivers can charge when picking up more than two passengers to $4. Cabs do not charge the fee for the first two passengers, only the metered fare.

Cab companies said the $10 cut would significantly diminish their profits in an increasingly competitive environment. Uber entered the S.C. market illegally in summer 2014 and has gained popularity since then.

With the ordinance, taxis can continue charging a $14 fee per passenger per trip when picking up more than two people. When leaving the airport, taxis’ metered fare for all trips is $2.52 per mile.

Other stipulations in the ordinance pertain to regulations, passenger safety and promoting a positive Charleston image. All commercial drivers must:

  • Obtain a permit to pick up and drop off passengers at the airport.
  • Register their vehicles with the state and obtain all proper licenses.
  • Keep their vehicles clean and in safe operating condition.
  • Remain with their vehicles while on airport property.
  • Maintain personal cleanliness and grooming, as well as professional attire.
  • Maintain liability insurance coverage.

Reach staff writer Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.

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