Hartsfield-Jackson to outline plan to permit Uber pick-ups

Hartsfield-Jackson International said it will outline a plan to the city’s administration by Sept. 1 for permitting pick-ups by ride-share services such as Uber X and Lyft at the airport.

Airport officials will propose the plan to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration, then the plan would need to go through an Atlanta city council approval process. The airport would also need to ramp up resources in preparation for the operations, according to Hartsfield-Jackson manager Miguel Southwell. All told, it could be months before Uber X and Lyft are legally picking up passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson.

“We want to meet the demand” for the service, Southwell said. But as the highly-regulated taxi and limo industries demand a level playing field for ground transportation businesses at the airport, Southwell said one of the airport’s objective is fairness.

Among the other issues the airport is wrestling with are how to ensure safety and security for customers, how much capacity is available at the curbside for additional commercial pick-ups and questions about how much more space will be needed. Uber and Lyft are not disclosing how many drivers or vehicles they have in their network.

City council transportation committee chair Felicia Moore, who held a work session on the issue Friday, said companies like Uber and Lyft “have come into the marketplace, not only in Atlanta, but across the country and around the world. They just bulldog right in and didn’t pay any attention to regulations and they just started up operations.” But in doing so, she said, “there are people who are in love with it. So we have the public that is saying, ‘We want this at the airport.’”