ALCOA (WATE) – Uber drivers can now legally pick up and drop off passengers at McGhee Tyson Airport.
The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority Board of Commissioners made the decision at its January meeting, making McGhee Tyson the third airport in Tennessee to allow Uber pickups.
Some say the playing field is becoming somewhat more even for Uber and taxi drivers. Before, there wasn’t a designated area for Uber drivers, but now they have to to wait in a designated staging area in the parking lot off of E. General Aviation Drive on the airport side of Alcoa Highway directly opposite Starbucks.
“I think it’ll definitely help and make the process easier for Uber drivers and then also for passengers that way they know that Uber drivers are there waiting for them,” Gwen Schablik, an Uber driver said.
Part of the deal with the airport includes a $2.50 surcharge fee for each pickup. They’ll track the drivers using a geocaching system.
“I think it’s great that there’s more options out there for people when they’re getting off the airplane,” Emily Schweitzer of Knoxville said.
Schweitzer said she’s on board with the move, but not everyone is thrilled with the idea.
Jill Perkins with Connections Taxi said she’s glad to see Uber paying an airport surcharge fee, but still doesn’t think it’s enough.
“It’s only fair because they could pick up without paying anything whereas we have to pay $120 per cab every month for pickups here,” Perkins said.
Despite taxi and Uber drivers picking up from two different terminal areas, Perkins thinks it’ll hurt business. Still for Schweitzer, it’s an option she’s going to heavily consider the next time she flies.
“If there’s not a taxi around, you need another option out there. Sometimes, all the taxis are taken. You can just use your phone to use the app to get somebody and know that they’re going to be available,” Schweitzer said.
Passengers can immediately begin using Uber to be picked up or dropped off at the airport. The app will give passengers instructions on where to wait. There will also be directional signs.