It’s not every day that a city takes unconstitutional actions that have drastic consequences for both its residents and visitors. But that’s exactly what happened when the Phoenix City Council decided to increase fees on ride-sharing trips to Sky Harbor Airport by 200%. This week, the Goldwater Institute announced that it is stepping up on behalf of drivers and passengers who will suffer from the city’s decision.
Paul Rowe, an Arizona resident for over 32 years, is one of those individuals. Paul started driving on the Uber and Lyft platforms to fill his time after his long-time partner passed away. A retiree, Paul also now relies on his ride-sharing earnings as supplemental income. After the city passed the fee increases, the major ride-sharing companies, Uber and Lyft, announced that they were pulling out of Sky Harbor — and that would have serious consequences for Paul and his riders.
“Uber and Lyft provide affordable rates with prompt, courteous, and timely service to the airport,” Paul said. “The potential loss of these services, or a major increase in their cost, will result in lost income for drivers and a major inconvenience to the traveling public.”
The Phoenix City Council passed these new fees despite warnings from the Goldwater Institute that doing so was not only horrendous policy but also violates the plain language of the Arizona Constitution, which was overwhelmingly amended by voters last year to prohibit any new or increased fees on services performed in the state.
On Thursday, the Goldwater Institute filed a motion with the Arizona Supreme Court on behalf of ride-sharing drivers and passengers to join a case challenging the constitutionality of the city of Phoenix’s fee raises on ride-sharing services at Sky Harbor Airport. You can read more about the case here.