Ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft will join the official lineup of transportation options at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in coming weeks.
The Metropolitan Airports Commission approved new ordinances governing Uber, Lyft and other so-called "transportation network companies," as well as revised taxi regulations at an airport meeting Monday.
It follows nearly a year of dispute over the terms of allowing rideshare companies to serve customers at the airport. Traditional taxi companies and drivers said the ride share drivers weren't being held to the same standards for driver identification and screening.
Under the new ordinance for ride sharing services, drivers will still, for instance, have to make an initial in-person visit to the airport, but an enhanced identification requirement was dropped in the final draft.
Ride share provider Uber initially said the proposed documentation requirements were a deal breaker, and they wouldn't pick up rides at the airport under the new ordinance. Following the vote, an official with Uber said in a statement that the measure will allow both residents and visitors to enjoy the benefits of ridesharing at the airport.
A Lyft representative watching Monday's vote said concessions by the airports commission that made it easier for drivers to start airport service and ride share could work under the new terms.
"We have about 60 airport partners and this is still a lot more intricate involvement from the airports with the drivers directly," said Diana Dellamere, senior policy manager with Lyft. "I think we've come to a good understanding, and we can find ways of implementing this."
Ride sharing has been an option at the airport for some time, but the process has been awkward: Drivers had to operate as unlicensed taxis, go through the commercial vehicle lane and pay a $6 fee to reach their customers.
Airport spokesman Pat Hogan said final details are still being worked out, but the MAC intends to have ride share passengers meet drivers where hotel shuttles serve Terminal 1 now. They still won't be allowed to pick up passengers at the regular baggage claim doors, like regular private cars. A $3 per-trip fee will be tacked onto the ride charge to cover the cost of managing ride share permits and accommodations at the airport.
The new system will start to go into effect in January.
Taxi drivers say they will continue to push for more stringent regulations — like fingerprinting to identify and screen drivers, which is not part of the final ordinance.
"We all have to go through the same thing — not the exact same thing, but at the end of the day, competition is competition. It's going to be around," said cab driver Cowami De Senard. "It's OK."