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MAC Approves New Regulations For Uber, Lyft At MSP Airport

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) -- After months of heated debate, you'll now have more options to grab a ride to and from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

On Monday, the Metropolitan Airports Commission overwhelmingly approved the new ordinance governing ride sharing.

Taxi companies have long resisted the unregulated competition from such ride-share operators, such as Uber and Lyft. But through much compromise, new rules will now govern ride-sharing firms.

Like all major airports around the country, MSP has been grappling with this new mode of ground transportation. Where passengers now have choices, between conventional cabs or upstart ride-shares.

For the millions of passengers who use MSP Airport, the flight is only part of their journey. It's ground transportation that gets you to and from. And we're in an era where you can order your wheels right from your phone.

"They can't take the airport away from us," Lyft driver Hatem Elboraey said.

Hatem Elboraey drives for Lyft. He's one of many ride-share operators attracted to the new firm, who will now be regulated and licensed at MSP.

"It is what it is, know what I mean. But we have to follow the rules, that's the bottom line," Elboraey said.

After months of debate and public hearings, compromise rules to govern both taxis and the upstart ride-shares came up for a vote. It's a policy that strikes a balance in the cost of fees, assuring passenger safety and licensing of all drivers.

"We want to make sure there is safety involved, that when you get in a car, Uber, Lyft or taxi, we know and they know who they are involved with," MAC Chairman Dan Boivin said.

All drivers will undergo background checks. To be equitable, all ride share-riders will pay a $3 airport fee. Taxi drivers pay it upfront, and then recover it over the year.

A group of taxi drivers thanked the commission for a compromise they think is fair to everyone.

"At the end of the day, we got to the place where not everybody is happy with everything we have, but it's a place where we can go forward and it provides that opportunity for all involved," Edward Reynoso with the Teamsters Council said.

The new ordinance takes effect Jan. 1, 2017. Commissioners did say they will continue to look for tweaks and improvements to the ordinance.

And if you've already used an Uber or Lyft, the drop off and pick up area will remain the same.


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