FORT MYERS, Fla. Passengers will now have new options to get to the airport.
Starting Saturday, Uber drivers can pick up passengers at Southwest Florida International Airport as part of a new state law allowing rideshare drivers to operate at airports, the Lee County Port Authority said. They will be allowed to wait in the airport garage or staging area in the cell phone parking lot.
“Every time I come here to visit my brother, I can save a lot of money on taxis, and that way he doesn’t have to come and pick me up,” said passenger Michael Watson.
Before the port authority blocked outside transportation, taxi services like MBA were the only transportation services for arrivals.
But on Saturday, the state bill will override the patchwork of local laws throughout Florida for background checks, insurance requirements and where ridesharing services can operate.
“Once now it’s going to be unblocked everybody’s just.. click on and we’re right there,” Uber driver Dominic Sigia said. “It’s going to be a lot more money that’s for sure.”
However, others like Joe Nugent, the director of Sales and Marketing at Holiday Inn, are concerned they could lose money.
“What could happen now is they’re just going to get an Uber and say, ‘Okay well when we get back, we’ll just Uber it back, as opposed to calling the hotel and having them pick us up,” he said.
MBA officials say they’re anxiously waiting to see how the change impacts their service, but Sigia believes there will be enough travelers to go around.
“It’s an international airport,” he said. “A lot of flights that come through here. A lot of people. Maybe it’s going to be enough for everybody.”
Uber drivers still have to obey state laws, airport officials said, but will not need a prearranged vehicle operator permit.