Uber strikes airport deal
Wellington has become the first airport in New Zealand to strike a deal with ride-sharing company Uber.
Uber’s drivers are now able to pick up and drop off riders, freed from the lingering threat of being trespassed.
Users can immediately begin being dropped off in the public drop-off zone outside the airport check-in area. A dedicated pick-up zone for Uber drivers will be opened on the ground floor on September 1.
The deal is hardly unvarnished good news for users of the service, who will effectively now face a price rise for rides which start or end at the airport.
Uber will collect a $3 fee for all pick-ups and drop-offs on airport property on behalf of the airport company.
For some, the deal may seem confusing, as users of the technology company, which has become a by-word for digital disruption, clearly already use the service at the airport.
But at airports in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch - the only cities in which Uber operates in New Zealand - the practice is officially forbidden.
Passengers are often forced to walk off airport property, or at least to parts of the site which are less closely monitored, to be picked up, otherwise the drivers risk fines or being barred from the property.
Airports have blamed transport regulations for the impasse, although opposition from taxi companies - which are understood to collectively pay millions of dollars for defined ranks near terminal exits - has also featured in the argument.
In a statement, Wellington Airport and Uber said the agreement followed the passing of the Land Transport Amendment Bill earlier in
‘‘This is a win for consumer choice, tourism and the Wellington travelling public.’’