Airport officials want to regulate Uber and other ride sharing companies

(NEWS CENTER) -- Airports want to regulate ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft -- that's what's at the heart of a hearing tomorrow in Augusta.

As it stands right now, taxi drivers that line up at the Portland International Jetport pay $810 annually, plus other fees, to do so. Uber drivers don't pay anything to the airport, but the company does pay $10,000 to the state to operate.
 
Taxi drivers are upset, saying Uber drivers are taking away businesses while not being subject to the same regulations.
 
Portland Jetport officials say they support the bill. They say the airport is a very tight space and Uber drivers can cause congestion by parking and wait for others, or doing laps around the area.
 
But Jason Bisbing says that's not an issue. He drive for Uber and goes to the airport daily, and says his company has already added a geofence to its app so drivers will not get requests while on airport property.
 
Airport officials say that geofence only works around the baggage claim area, and the airport has no control over it. For them, it's an issue of safety and efficiency.
 
"It's a very small piece of real estate with a lot going on," said Paul Bradbury, Director of the Portland Jetport. "At a peak hour, there could be 2,000 passengers that we are trying to get in and out of here all at the same time, all on the same roadway system. We can't have commericial operators competing with each other. They need to be working in a very thoughtful and regulated environment."
 
Bradbury also say the fees they collect from taxis and other drivers go to staffing pick up and drop off areas, and that they currently lose money on ground transportation.
 
A hearing on the bill is set for Friday in Augusta.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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