The rules for driving Lyft to and from the airport vary accross different airports.  It is important to know the regulations for your local airport, as Lyft will not reimburse drivers for any citations that occur there.  The issue of airport dropoffs and pickups is one that is still being debated and fought over by lawmakers and regulators in many regions.  This is sort of the last stronghold for big cab companies who have lost share in their regions to Lyft and Uber.   In my opinion, regulators should allow for fair competition between cab companies and rideshare companies, because ultimately this approach encourages innovation and appropriate price discovery.

 

Currently, many airports require permits to for taxis to operate in airport drop off and pick up areas.  Lyft has at times chosen to ignore airport restrictions in some areas, opting to allow drivers to pick up and drop off at airports, and then paying any impound fees for drivers who are penalized. At other airports, Lyft specifies in their app that pick ups, for example, are not permitted.

 

In Seattle, for example, drivers are permitted to drop passengers off at the airport but cannot pick up passengers in the arrival section.  Passengers can side-step these restrictions by dropping a pin just outside of the restricted area, and then call drivers to notify them of their location. To avoid citation, a useful tactic for drivers in Seattle is to wait in the cellphone lot for a pickup request, thus minimizing any time spent in the arrival section.

 

Drivers should proceed with caution if they plan to drop off or pick off at airports where it is not permitted. Lyft currently requires their emblem to be displayed while you are in driver mode, but if you are going to be operating in a restricted area I would encourage you to not display an emblem.  I would also recommend asking riders to sit in the front seat and avoid the common fist bump when operating in restricted areas, because these are things that distinguish Lyft drivers. Airport specific regulations for each city can be found on the Lyft website.

 

UPDATE: Lyft has been working with regulators in various cities to allow for airport pickups. Check with your local Lyft team for updates on your city’s policy.

 

Photo Credit: Olivier CABARET via Compfight cc

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