Rideshares UberX, Lyft and Wingz will be allowed to start picking up passengers at Sea-Tac International Airport on March 31.
Up to this point, the rideshares could drop off passengers at the airport, but picking them up was taxi territory, punishable by hefty fines if caught.
“It's kind of nice that there will be other options outside just Uber Black,” traveler Lily Supardan said.
The Port will charge a $5 airport fee for each pickup.
For a trip from Westlake Park in downtown Seattle to the airport, a quick check of websites shows that Wingz charges a flat rate of $35; Lyft charges $28 via its online fare estimator; and UberX estimates that the trip is anywhere from $27 to $36, keeping in mind surge prices can be higher.
Wingz told KIRO 7 on Tuesday that it hasn't decided if it'll pass the extra $5 fee on to the customer, but Lyft and UberX say they will.
“I still think it's cheaper than a taxi and for the convenience as a business traveler getting a receipt -- emailed directly to my expense account -- there’s no easier way to travel from a business perspective,” traveler Jennifer Valley said.
Yellow Cab charges a flat rate of $40 from downtown to the airport but, according to its website, does not offer a flat rate the opposite way.
The company will still be at Sea-Tac but will now share a floor with the rideshares.
A large space with 66 spots has been marked off on the third floor of the parking garage past the taxis and will have signage to direct travelers. People will request their rides like usual on the app and then meet their drivers at that space.
Port of Seattle commissioners have set up standards encouraging the rideshares to use environmentally friendly cars, just like the taxis.
“The Priuses of the world,” Commissioner Stephanie Bowman said, “that's really the direction that we're hoping that they go.”
If the rideshares choose not to use a completely green fleet, they will have to participate in monthly monitoring, providing data to the Port. An equation called E-KPI will look at data like miles per gallon for each vehicle, the number of trips for each vehicle, the number of people in those trips, and deadheading. It is possible the rideshares could use a combination of normal cars and very green cars, like Priuses and electric vehicles like Teslas, to reach the Port’s requirement: an average of more than 45 miles per gallon per vehicle.
“There will be fines and they escalate,” Bowman said, referring to the consequences if rideshares do not meet the standards. “That’s another incentive for them to do the right thing and we firmly believe that they will.”