Ride-Sharing Companies in Negotiations with Sac Int’l Airport

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SACRAMENTO --

When FOX40 called for a Lyft in downtown Sacramento, we had no idea we'd be Abdullah Rahim's inaugural ride as a driver.

"There's a promotion going around in Sacramento," Rahim shared as he explained part of the reason why he decided to get behind the wheel.

The soon-to-be medical student is also looking to cash in the same way his uncle and cousin have, before he heads off to school.

"I like the whole concept of Lyft .. how there's no cash transactions. It's safer that way," he said.

He's loved ride-sharing as a customer, and as a new contractor of the concept, he may be riding into the kind of future long-term drivers have only dreamed of -- one of sanctioned airport service instead of sneak runs.

Last year when managers of Sacramento International opened up the process for ground transport permits, they were inundated.

Almost 50 requests came in mostly from individual Uber and Lyft drivers who wanted their business to take-off with airport customers.

FOX40's learned that's why airport directors have now spent six months in negotiations with the ride-share companies  themselves.

They're trying to work out a deal that could be fair to them and the taxis already in service.

When it comes to those negotiations, Lyft's Public Policy Communications manager Chelseas Wilson said they "...hope to agree on new rules for transportation solutions like Lyft, as we've done with airports across the state such as San Francisco, San Diego, and Orange County."

Jay Gierak, Uber's Sacramento General manager, says his company wants to "add Sacramento International to the growing list of airports across the country that have embraced uberX..."

Trey Van Dyke takes Uber all the time.

As fas a trips to the airport?

"I think it's a really good idea. I think they need to make the policies progress with the times," he said.

Rey Leon is working to build on that same idea with a "friends and family driving network" in Fresno called Green Raitero.

"I don't know what's happened with the perception of taxis, but it's left the younger generation behind," Leon shared.

Taxi drivers have protested ride-share's largely unregulated reach into their pocketbooks, but thanks to limited English proficiency or refusal, no one was willing to detail their frustrations for FOX40 about the matter in relation to the airport

One cabbie did have something quite different to say.

"The city regulates the cab industry too much, and it's about time somebody like Uber steps in and shows them that's not the way to do business. Pay taxes and go for it," said 30-year-cab driving veteran Eduardo Camilo.

Right now, across the city, taxi operators pay plate and permit fees that don't apply to ride-share companies.

As it stands, the Sacramento Independent Taxi Owners Association has an exclusive contract to serve the airport.

Other taxi companies can handle customers there only if they've be called specifically or have a prior reservation.