Taxi and ride-share drivers are furious about the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s plan to impose new fees on pickups and drop-offs at airports, with some threatening to “shut down” ground transportation, WABC-TV reports.
The Port Authority, which operates John F Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia International Airport and Newark International Airport, has proposed a new $4 per ride “ground access fee” for airport pickups by taxis, Uber, and Lyft, plus a $4 drop off tax for ride-share vehicles only.
The plan also would raise the price of an AirTrain ticket from $5 to $7.75 each way. The trains connect the New York mass transit system to all three airports. Bridge tolls would be increased, as well.
The association representing ride-share operators called the new fees part of a “war” on professional drivers. “The new fee is just the latest in a series of unfair taxes that tax the labor of app-based drivers at a higher rate than taxis, and it comes on the heels of a new state congestion tax of $2.75 per trip on app-based trips and $2.50 on taxi trips,” the Independent Drivers Guild said.
New York Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director Bhairavi Desai accused the Port Authority of stealing food from the tables of already struggling taxi drivers.
“This fee – on top of a devastating $2.50 congestion surcharge in Manhattan and after a 36 per cent drop in revenue for yellow cab drivers – appears manufactured at the state level to wipe out a sector that has kept the airports moving for decades,” he said.
“Drivers are in crisis, but the Port Authority underestimates our resolve. If they want a fight, they got one. Drivers: get ready to shut down the airports.”
The fee proposal will be the subject of upcoming public hearings and a likely September vote by the Port Authority board. Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton called the fees “needed and measured.”