CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News learned Monday that airport officials will soon go public with a plan to allow Uber drivers to pick up at the Atlanta Airport.
The debate has been raging for more than a year. The Uber plan is coming six months behind schedule because it’s taken that long for traditional taxi drivers and their new competition to find compromise on the map.
“It’s a disruptive service, but that’s what’s so great about the technology frankly. I’m a big proponent,’ said business woman Pam Hufnagel.
Hufnagel was waiting for an Uber driver at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Monday afternoon. She told Channel 2‘s Jim Strickland she has a right to be picked up by whomever she chooses. But in order to do that, the Uber driver had to break the law as currently written –- a law that will soon change.
“There’s a customer demand for Uber and Lyft,” said Airport spokesman Reese McCranie.
McCranie says they’re fine-tuning legislation to give ride-share drivers access for airport pickup.
“I think it gives us the opportunity to have an enterprise and use our entrepreneurial skills without having any problems,” said Uber driver Moses Howard.
But police say the ride-share drivers are creating a problem by taking up parking spots in the cellphone waiting lot. Two to three times a day, officers check the lot to tell drivers to move along.
“We will not have a staging place for Uber and Lyft drivers. That's one thing that can't happen at the airport, so we'll have designated spots where they can pick up only,” McCranie said.
He wouldn’t comment on whether ride-share cars would need identifying marks. He did say security is a factor.
“Someone driving (for) Uber or Lyft has passed a certain type of vetting that we want to make sure is standardized,” he said.
Taxi drivers told Strickland they are concerned about what it will mean for them.
“If (Uber and Lyft) are our competition for business, our business will be dead,” cabbie Zekarius Kidanu said.
A Channel 2 investigation last April revealed the city’s challenges in enforcing the current ban on Uber and Lyft.
Beyond saying a plan was coming very soon, McCranie would not put a timetable on exactly when.