Officials consider Uber, Lyft services at San Jose airport

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council could approve a program that would allow ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft to gain a stronger foothold at the airport serving Silicon Valley.

The city says Uber and Lyft are taking as much as 30 percent out of taxi revenues.

When it comes to transportation at Mineta San Jose International Airport, taxi cabs are still the big player.

The San Jose City Council is expected to meet to discuss whether to give Uber, Lyft and others the green light to pick up passengers, which is something that currently requires a permit.

It's a move that could bring in more than a quarter million dollars in revenue to the city.

Right now, Uber and Lyft are only allowed to drop off passengers.

Taxi drivers have been outspoken critics of the app-driven service, but ABC7 News spoke with some who seemed resigned to the fact ride-sourcing companies are here to stay. "What can we do? We can do nothing? They are powerful, they have money," one taxi driver said.

"Well, if that's what they want to do that's fine," a taxi driver said and added that it's not hurting his business. "We're doing good."

The California Public Utilities Commission regulates Uber and Lyft while the city regulates taxis.

In a memo to city staff San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and others are behind a proposed one year pilot program for transportation network companies at the airport under current state rules.

They also want fingerprinting and background checks of drivers, vehicle inspections by the city, full payment of all fees and fines for past operations and violations, require a business tax license and other safety measures.

Uber drivers are excited. "I've been waiting for it for a whole year," one man said.

"You don't have to wait for the taxis. It's just completely outdated in terms of how it works, so they need to do it. I don't know what they're waiting for," Prabu Ranbadran said.

San Francisco was the first airport in California to formally legalize these transportation network companies. SFO started a 10 month pilot program in October of last year. As that program is coming to an end, San Jose city staff says SFO feels stricter regulations of Uber, Lyft and others are needed. City staff said in a memo that San Jose could lose up to $250,000 by not allowing these services at their airport.

The council is scheduled to look at this issue Tuesday afternoon.
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