Uber joins Lyft in calling on customers to oppose fee hikes at Logan Airport
Uber said it has plans to join ride-hail rival Lyft Monday as the two companies seek to enlist customers in their fight against proposed changes at Logan International Airport that would mean higher fees and eliminate curbside dropoffs at the airport’s terminals for many of their riders.
The changes, which are being considered by the Massachusetts Port Authority’s oversight board, are intended to help control ride-hail trips at the airport, which account for about 40 percent of curbside traffic during peak hours.
Uber plans to e-mail customers Monday, asking them to sign an online petition opposing the plan.
“Help keep your airport trips affordable and convenient by signing the petition below and making your voice heard,” the e-mail to customers said.
Uber’s move comes days after Lyft sought to mobilize its customers via e-mail Friday against the proposed changes.
In March, the Massachusetts Port Authority revealed details of a plan to increase pickup fees for ride-hail trips from $3.25 to $5, and riders would have to pay the $5 to be dropped off at the airport. Massport would charge riders $2.50 if they agreed to share their Uber or Lyft ride.
Under the same plan, Massport would also require travelers to walk from the terminals to the airport’s central parking garage for pickups and dropoffs.
Currently, people can be dropped off outside each terminal, and there are dedicated pickup spots in adjacent parking lots. The change would mean travelers would have to walk for several minutes between the terminals and the garage.
Riders with disabilities would still be able to receive curbside service.
The changes would not apply to the taxi industry, which would still have direct access to the terminals.
Massport officials have said they did not consult the taxi industry about the proposed rules, but did discuss them with the ride-hail companies.
A vote on the proposed changes is expected Thursday.
Uber’s online petition criticizes the proposed fee increases, as well as the relocation of the pickup and dropoff sites away from the terminals.
“As someone who relies on Uber to get to and from Logan Airport, I urge you to reconsider your proposal to increase ridesharing fees and move pick up and drop offs to a parking lot,” the Uber petition says.
Those relocation changes would “add unnecessary hassle to the airport traveler experience,” the petition said.
In a statement to the Globe on Sunday, Uber spokesman Harry Hartfield said the company is offering its own proposal, which would raise new revenues without forcing customers to be picked up and dropped off in a parking lot.
“While we want to work with Massport on a reasonable solution, we can’t sit idly by while the airport pushes an unfair plan that will force rideshare customers to pay more and get less,” Hartfield said.
Lyft criticized the airport proposal Friday in an online posting.
“We need your help to keep Lyft affordable and convenient at Logan Airport. If approved, the new fees will hurt Massachusetts residents who rely on rideshare services for reliable and affordable transportation to the airport,” Lyft said. “The new fees could lead to fewer passengers taking Lyft rides to the airport and mean lower earnings for drivers.”
Campbell Matthews, a Lyft spokeswoman, told the Globe in a statement Sunday that the company has made numerous counterproposals that Massport has dismissed.
“The [Massport] plan is an ineffective way to address Massport’s concerns and we believe it’s important that they hear from the riders and drivers who would be impacted most,” Matthews said.