Hartsfield-Jackson weighs new locations for Uber, Lyft pickups

Hartsfield-Jackson International's new Uber and Lyft  pickup areas have frustrated many passengers who have taken the long walk to an economy parking lot to catch their ride.

Airport officials are now working on a plan to relocate one of the pickup areas later this year.

Hartsfield-Jackson opened the remote pickup zones last year to ease traffic congestion during construction of curbside canopies, which were expected to take about 18 months to complete.

The first round of canopy construction is underway on the Terminal North side. The airport plans to relocate the Terminal North ride-share pick-up area closer to the terminal building by fall 2018. Where it will be is yet to be determined.

Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Roosevelt Council said the airport's curbside space is "really constrained."

“We’re going to be moving [the Uber and Lyft pickup zones] from where they are now to a closer location, but it will still be in one of the parking decks” or parking lots, Council said during a presentation to the Atlanta city council transportation committee.

“We have a few locations that we’re sort of tinkering with,” Council said.

Thousands of passengers move through the terminal and curbside area at the world's busiest airport on a daily basis, with about 5,600 Uber and Lyft pickups per day. "Our biggest challenge... is the restriction on land that we actually have," Council said.

He said one possibility when parking decks are reconstructed in coming years is to eventually allow Uber and Lyft drivers to pick up passengers in the parking decks.

He said the airport is also reviewing the airport fees charged for Uber and Lyft pickups as called for by city ordinance, to consider whether the fees tacked onto the fare should be changed.

The $3.85 fee for each pickup at the airport — which includes the same $1.50 fee paid by taxi passengers, along with a $2.35 per-passenger surcharge for businesses like Uber and Lyft that use private background checks instead of state fingerprint checks — has irked some passengers.

“That fee study is ongoing now.” Council said.

State law mandates that the fees can only be used to recover costs. Other airports assess similar fees, and the companies pass them along to riders.