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NFTA charges taxis to pick up passengers at airport, too

While Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority fees charged to ride-hailing companies' customers at Buffalo's airport are new, taxis have been paying for access to the Buffalo airport for years.

So have parking lot shuttles, limousines and other ground transportation companies.

The taxi company with exclusive rights to pick up fares at Buffalo Niagara International Airport pays the airport's operator a fee for every passenger who gets off a plane there, regardless of whether they take a taxi.

Taxis are not charged a fee for dropping off passengers at the airport.

The NFTA expects to make more revenue from taxis than ride-hailing companies, at least in the first year the ride-hailing companies operate here.

"Because ride-hailing is brand new to upstate New York , it is difficult to project actual revenue numbers, but we estimate that the revenue from taxis will be higher than those of [Transportation Network Companies] for the first year," said Helen Tederous, NFTA spokeswoman.

Buffalo Airport Taxi, the company with the exclusive rights to pick up passengers at the airport in Cheektowaga, pays a few cents for every passenger who disembarks a plane under the terms of a five-year contract. The agreement, which runs through the end of 2018, charged Buffalo Airport Taxi 3 cents per deplanement in 2014, a rate that will keep increasing until the charge reaches 4 cents per deplanement in 2018, according to a contract summary provided by the authority.

Those fees, in addition to a yearly base fee, led the taxi company - also known as the Independent Taxi Association - to pay the NFTA $630,829 last year alone.

The base rate for the Buffalo Airport Taxi contract in 2014 was $500,000 and will be $600,000 in 2018, according to the NFTA.

An official with Buffalo Airport Taxi declined comment when reached by phone Friday morning.

Buses dropping people off at the airport can either pay a flat annual fee based on the number of weekly trips, a fee that ranges from $260 to $9,100, or they can also pay $75 for 15 trips. Car-rental shuttles and off-site parking operators pay a percentage of gross revenue. Limousines, vans and hotel and motel shuttles pay an annual flat fee based on the number of weekly trips. The fee ranges from $52 to $7,280. They could also pay $15 for 15 trips.

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