After nearly three years of dialogue, an update to Massachusetts law will allow four Cape & Islands airports, including Nantucket Memorial Airport, to begin regulating rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft similar to other airports across the state through requirements such as fees. This revision will enable the airport to bring in additional revenue while also leveling the playing field between taxi drivers and rideshare drivers.
“What this does is cab drivers pay $400 at the airport for an annual sticker to get the front row spots in that front lane. They are the most convenient option, but I can understand the frustration that TNCs (transportation network companies) up until now had been able to operate without paying into the system,” assistant airport manager Noah Karberg said. “That is what it is really about. It is an equitable system that everyone is paying into at the use of which they are using resources.”
An initial fee for these rideshare companies will be $3.25 per originating pickup at the airport. These drivers, like cab drivers, will not be charged for dropping people off.
Karberg said early estimates indicate that these fees could bring in between $20,000 to $40,000 in revenue for the airport. He said these regulations will also give the airport more power to control congestion and emergency access to the airport during the summer season.
“This isn’t an anti-Uber or anti-Lyft effort by the airport,” Karberg said. “They are a very important component and ground transportation choice, but it brings them to the table, gives them skin in the game, and gives them a few rights too. This law won’t only be benefitting the airport.”
Rideshare drivers will continue to pick up passengers in the first row of the parking lot while cab drivers will maintain their position in the row adjacent to the front curb.
“We have no plans to move the rideshare pickup spot at this time,” Karberg said.
The revision to the law was orchestrated by both State Senator Julian Cyr (D- Truro) and Representative Dylan Fernandes (D –Falmouth). Martha’s Vineyard Airport, Provincetown Municipal Airport, and Cape Cod Gateway Airport will also benefit from this law.
“Municipal and county airports in Massachusetts have been unable to regulate ridesharing services due to an omission in state law and were inadvertently left behind,” Cyr said in a press release. “As airport passengers have shifted from utilizing traditional taxi services to app-based services like Uber and Lyft, Massport airports have benefitted from the fees from rideshare companies. I am eager for Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod airports to now enjoy the same ability. These are some of the busiest airports in New England; allowing these airports to also register and impose fees on rideshare apps will further help transportation to our region run smoothly.”
“This legislation is about making sure the Cape & Islands are treated equally when it comes to state policy,” Fernandes said. “After Boston Logan, Nantucket airport is the busiest airport in Massachusetts and the Vineyard and Cape airports are not far behind. Airports in our region deserve to be empowered by the state with the same rights as Massport airports. We are thrilled that this amendment will finally level the playing field for ground transportation operators.”
Airport Manager Tom Rafter said in the release that the airport is greatly appreciative of the hard work from the representatives.
“This amendment generates local revenue, and it also levels the playing field at ACK between TNCs and traditional cab operators,” he said.