Taxi drivers don't want to give up their prime airport pickup spots to Uber and Lyft

Lizzy Ravitch, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Business News

Taxi drivers may soon have to pick up passengers at the airport in a different area, farther from the airport doors, as the city plans to swap out the taxi zone and the rideshare zone. The Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania is suing the city in an attempt to prevent the zone change.

The proposed change would move taxi pickup from Zone 5, which is just outside baggage claim in Terminal A, to Zone 7, which requires travelers to cross the street bordering the terminal. Taxi drivers say that would take away their visibility, which they argue is more important to the taxi business than it is to Uber or Lyft, because taxis can’t rely on an app to connect with customers.

“If we leave Zone 5 and go anywhere else at the airport, [we’ll be] out of sight, out of mind,” said Abdul Manan, a driver for the last seven years.

Taxi drivers are also concerned that the new location would be a challenge for people with physical disabilities who want to use a taxi. The Philadelphia International Airport’s mapping tool labels the route from Zone 5 to Zone 7 as accessible.

Traditional taxis have already seen their business decimated by the emergence of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and think this will take away even more business. Before the pandemic hit, about 1,350 cabs were in service. As of November 2022, there were 564.

“This may be the nail in the coffin” for taxis, Eli Gabay, the lawyer representing the Alliance, said in an interview. “The airport is an aspect of keeping that industry alive.”


The taxi alliance’s lawsuit, filed in mid-January, says the change was announced at a meeting Jan. 16 and alleges that the change violates the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter by improperly enforcing regulations, as well as the U.S. Constitution by not giving the drivers due process.

A spokesperson for the airport said the city cannot comment on pending litigation.

The city told drivers it’s changing the zones because rideshare passengers are currently required to walk across the street and could be hit in a marked crosswalk, the complaint says.

“Proper use of this sidewalk eliminates the danger cited by the defendant for rideshare passengers,” it says. “For that matter, any such danger posed in crossing the street by any would-be passengers is essentially the same for taxicabs or for rideshare passengers.”


swipe to next page

©2023 The Philadelphia Inquirer, LLC. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus