New rules that will allow ride-share drivers to pick up and drop off passengers at Houston airports were rather quietly approved by City Council Wednesday.
Under the new rules, which saw no discussion from council members yesterday, ride-share drivers can pick you up and drop you off at Houston's airport if they get the right airport-specific permit. They will also be required to pay the same fees taxi drivers are charged, which amounts to about $2.75 for each departing ride at Bush Intercontinental and $1.25 at Hobby.
But those airport surcharge fees won't be the only new restriction fencing in the ride-share drivers. Drivers will also be bound by a new technology, required by the city, that builds a virtual fence around certain spots at the airport.
The fence will create blackout zones where the ride-share driver will not appear available for pickup on the app. This will prohibit ride-share drivers from dropping off passengers at the airport and immediately picking up new ones, or even circling the airport and returning for another fare.
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While the new airport regulations will provide some more options for travelers, Uber might be the only ride-share company that takes advantage of the changes, at least at first.
Lyft has vowed to leave the city of Houston on November 20, rather than comply with the new city regulations.
Drivers will still be required to comply with the new licensing regulations put in place by the city earlier this month. Only about 60 Uber drivers had completed the licensing process as of last week, which involves providing the city with things like a physical, a negative drug test, a fingerprint background check, and a recent car inspection.
City Council has been discussing the potential of allowing ride-share drivers to pick up and drop off passengers at local airports since last month. Council unanimously voted to pass the rules during Wednesday's meeting with little fanfare.