REDMOND, Ore. - Hailing a ride at Roberts Field could cost you more soon. Starting April 1, for-hire drivers will pay an access fee of $1 each time they arrive at the airport.
Bill Calidonna, the owner of Enviro Shuttle. said those dollars add up.
“About $450 a year to almost $8,000,” he said Thursday.
Companies used to pay a flat rate annually. Now he estimates his payment will increase by 1,700 percent.
Airport Director Zachary Bass said the airport access fee is a common charge.
“Everyone in the Northwest currently does this, in this way," Bass said. "I would say we’re probably one of the few (commercial airports) in the country that don’t operate their ground transportation with a gate access fee.”
The money will go toward services the drivers use.
“What the fee allows us to do also is recoup some of that money that we put into infrastructure, maintenance, snow removal — it allows us to support what they’re currently using,” Bass said.
Not all drivers will feel the sting equally. According to Bass, some companies will even pay less.
“It’s kind of a pay-for-play. So if you access the gate to pick an individual up, you’re charged a fee. If you do that hundreds of times a month, then you’re of course charged more for each pickup,” he said. “If you’re only a business that uses it twice a month, than of course you’re going to pay once or twice.”
Calidonna said he’s mainly upset for his customers.
“We have to go through another price increase, because before, a few hundred dollars didn’t even factor in to the price. Now that they’re doing this, we have to," he said. "They’re forcing us to, and I’m not happy about it.”
The fee applies to all for-hire drivers, so when Uber, Lyft or other ride-sharing services arrive at the airport, they will pay it as well, Bass said.