The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has reached separate deals with Uber and Lyft, which will allow both ride-hailing services to pick up and drop off passengers traveling to and from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and the Niagara Falls International Airport.
NFTA officials Friday said an agreement in principle was reached with Uber. Under the agreement, Uber will pay a $180,000 flat fee to the authority for a one-year pilot program.
"Thank you to the NFTA for coming to the table and reaching an agreement that best serves the people of Buffalo," Sarfraz Maredia, general manager for Uber NY, said in a statement Friday.
Travelers who want to use Lyft to get a ride to or from either airport will have that option, too, following a deal that also was worked out Friday. Despite an apparent impasse in its negotiations with the authority earlier Friday, Kirk Stafford, senior manager of airports and venues at Lyft, said in a statement that the company was thrilled.
"Thanks to this agreement, Buffalo's visitors will be able to arrive at their destinations more easily than ever, while helping to support the Buffalo economy and improve safety on the road," said Stafford.
Under that agreement, the NFTA will charge Lyft $3 for each pick-up and drop-off transaction initiated or concluded within specific boundaries of the airport.
Earlier, Lyft had declined to offer passengers rides to the Buffalo and Niagara Falls airports after the NFTA enacted fees that would have seen riders paying an additional $3.50 per ride to or from airport property. A spokeswoman noted that the initial fee structure proposed by the NFTA was the fifth highest in the country and outside of industry standards for an operation its size.
Ride-hailing services will become legal in upstate New York on June 29.
Some airports across the country charge ride-hailing companies similar fees to provide service at their facilities.
Fees charged to ride-hailing services at other airports range from $1 in Austin and Albuquerque to $4 at Los Angeles International Airport, according to information supplied by an Uber spokeswoman. Some airports only charge for pickups and not for drop-offs, the spokeswoman said.
On Thursday, the NFTA finalized a move to enact the per-trip charge, as well as a $5,000 "permit fee" for ride-hailing companies who take passengers to or from the airport.
Riders using lift will see the $3 fee added to the cost of their trip, while Uber users will not see any type of service fee with their rides to or from the airport, an Uber spokeswoman said.
The NFTA does not charge a fee to taxis dropping passengers off at the airports.
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