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Taxi, Uber Drivers Sound Off On Airport Pick-Ups

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Hundreds of people have strong opinions on whether or not ride share services like Lyft and Uber should be able to take passengers to and from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

They packed a meeting room at the Marriott Hotel near the airport Monday night to make their opinions known.  The airport commission listened as people spoke strongly on both side of the issue.

Typically, these meetings are held at the MSP Airport, but officials moved the meeting to the airport Marriott because they expected a huge crowd. And they got one with about 450 people.

Most of the people in the room are usually sitting in the driver's seat. Some drive Uber or Lyft, others drive taxis.

"I know almost everyone in this room has kids and we know how important it is to try hard," taxi driver Cowami DiSenard said.

He's been driving a taxi 11 years. Hundreds of his peers stood behind him, others behind the microphone.

"We're not here to support Uber. In opposition, we want them out of here and by any means necessary. They undercut our jobs," taxi driver Gregory Kpowulu said.

He says if Uber and Lyft drivers want to make airport pick-ups, they should pay licensing fees. Uber driver after driver said they want those pick-ups.

"As a driver, a lot of people ask, I wanna be picked up from the airport can you help? And I'm not able to do that," Uber driver Lisa Mendenhall said.

"Most of our passengers really want to be picked up at airport," Uber driver Jeff Shillingstad said.

Airport commissioners listened to both sides. They are considering an ordinance that would allow Lyft and Uber to make pick-ups as soon as next summer.

And that's why these drivers showed up, to make sure they're not taken for a ride.

"We're saying if they want to be at the airport, great, but it should be a level playing field. They should pay same fees we pay," Kpowulu said.

Airport officials say if this passes, it will be a different fee structure but they believe the license fees will be about the same for taxi and Uber drivers. The commission is still taking comments on it. There will be no final decision until March at the earliest.

Here is how people can give their opinion to the commission.


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