Phoenix City Council Approves Airport Ground Transportation Changes

The Phoenix City Council approved amendments on Wednesday to the City Code which will allow Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to adjust fees for ground transportation providers to ensure proper investment in airport infrastructure. The code changes will also increase civil penalties for abandoning a vehicle at the Airport curb and will allow future parking rate changes to be based upon market demand.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport does not receive any tax revenue and is supported only by rent and fees paid by those who use its facilities. Commercial ground transportation businesses have been paying a fraction of what it costs to operate the ground transportation program at Sky Harbor that supports their operation and are currently being subsidized by other Airport businesses. With the changes approved by City Council today, the commercial ground transportation providers will be treated similar to the other companies doing business at Sky Harbor.

Beginning in 2020, new ground transportation fees will offer two options for rideshare (TNC) providers: A $2.80 drop-off and pick-up fee at the PHX Sky Train Station or a $4.00 drop-off and pick-up fee for service at the terminal curb. When rideshare operators began in June of 2016, they represented only 9.3% of the commercial business, today they represent 70% of the commercial traffic. This chart details current fees and new fees for each category. While certain regulated providers, like taxis, are not allowed to pass fees onto the drivers or their customers, other unregulated providers such as rideshare operators can choose whether to pass the fees to their customers or drivers.

GT Mode  Current
(pick only) 
2020 fees
(pick-up & drop -off) 
TNC $2.66 $4.00¹
1-8 Seats (Taxi) $2.66 $1.75²
9-23 Seats (Shuttle) $3.48 $2.25²
24+ Seats (Charter Bus) $7.38 $5.00²

*Rates increase to $4.25 in 2021, $4.50 in 2022, $4.75 in 2023, $5.00 in 2024, and in 2025, by greater of CPI or 3% annually. Rates increase at the greater of CPI or 3% annually

The new fee structure will also encourage the use of the 44th Street PHX Sky Train Station, reducing the number of vehicles from the Airport core. PHX Sky Train carried 5.3 million passengers in 2018. When PHX Sky Train opened in 2013 it was projected to carry 7,000 passengers per day. Today it averages 15,000 passengers per day. Incentivizing PHX Sky Train pick-up and drop-off will help ease traffic congestion and improve air quality by reducing the number of idling vehicles at Airport curbs. While many other major airports are forcing rideshare providers off their curbs to remote locations, Phoenix Sky Harbor is continuing to allow premium curbside service while offering a green incentive to use a remote location.

Code changes passed today also increase the fine for leaving a vehicle at the Airport curb to the maximum allowable under Arizona law. The new penalty for an unattended vehicle is now $250 plus a $500 public nuisance penalty. The Council also provided for a 40% green discount for commercial ground transportation providers using zero emission vehicles and confirmed no changes to employee parking rates and programs at the airport. The changes approved today do not increase the parking rates at Sky Harbor.