SFO introduces app to collect fees from rideshare drivers

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Each time a taxi or limo picks you up at San Francisco International Airport, each trip represents a $3.80 passenger fee paid to the airport.

But collecting those fees from new app based ride services like Uber and Lyft hasn't been easy.

So, SFO has now developed its own technology to track passenger pick up fees.

It works with the GPS embedded in the ride app. SFO will track drivers every time they drive into what they call a GPS geofence.

"What we've created is a tracking system that allows us to keep tabs on any app based transportation here at SFO," explained Doug Yakel, an SFO spokesman.

Yakel says Uber, Lyft and Sidecar recently signed agreements that allow their drivers to legally pick up passengers.

Before this technology, the airport had to wait for the companies to report their ride data to collect the fee.

Now, the ride companies will simply add this technology code their apps and allowing SFO to collect the ride data in real time.

Cab drivers also pay an airport fee, issued a smart card.

"When you get into the airport and get out, we have to pay for each trip $4," said taxi driver Victor Margolis.

But this new technology may be controversial for the taxi industry.

In November, several cabbies caused gridlock at SFO to protest the airport's agreement to legalize ride app drivers.

There was hope it would be a temporary agreement, yet this new technology may signal otherwise. The airport is now collecting passenger fees from Uber and Lyft.

Last December, that came nearly $550,000. This new SFO developed technology may be worth even more money.

"As we were building it, we knew we probably weren't going to be the only airport that has the need for this type of information and that's really what led us to look at licensing this," said Yakel.

If airports follow SFO's lead to make agreements with uber, Lyft and others, SFO expects to collect about $350,000 in additional revenue over the next two years from licensing.
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