Montgomery Regional Airport in negotiations to allow Uber pick-up

Published: Jun. 4, 2016 at 2:09 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2016 at 2:21 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY CO., AL (WSFA) - Since Uber launched in the River Region in February, about 75 to 100 drivers have been picking up riders on the popular ride-sharing app. But with anything new, there's always room for improvements.

Drivers say they need more riders to utilize the app and there's one place they're not allowed to pick riders up from that hinders a major revenue stream.

City of Montgomery Uber Ambassador Terrance Woods quit his job to be a full time Uber Driver.

"I average about 60-70 rides a week," said Woods.

That equals anywhere from $400 to $800 a week, but there's an untapped resource holding Woods back.

"If we pick up from the airport, it would probably well exceed over $1,000 a week," said Woods.

As it stands now, Uber drivers can only drop riders off at the airport.

"The airport police will give us a citation for picking passengers up," said Woods.

When the ride share company makes an agreement with a city, airports are treated as a separate entity.

Die-hard Uber fans have found a way around the restriction; Woods says they'll walk across the street to get off airport property and request a ride from the gas station.

But according to Uber driver Keith Rudolph, there's not enough die-hard Uber users in the River Region to maximize the app's potential.

"You want to be where the demand is and you're taking a shot in the dark because you never know where the rides are going to come from," said Rudolph.

But that shot in the dark may get a little bit more direct.

Officials with the Montgomery Regional Airport confirm they are in negotiations with Uber; in fact they've been trying to reach an agreement for three months, and because of that they can't discuss it much further.

Hearing that negations are going on as we speak makes Woods happy.

"That way I can feel more confident, and not a threat to go out there and pick people up," said Woods.

While drivers like Woods and Rudolph wait for the airport to accept a ride, they stress that this isn't just a Montgomery thing.

"Uber is in the entire River Region. Prattville, Millbrook, Wetumpka, even up to Alex City and down to Hope Hull but the people in those areas don't understand that so therefore they're not putting in requests and drivers aren't hanging out in those areas," said Rudolph.

Uber drivers are currently able to pick-up passengers from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport and pickup will be allowed at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport by July first.

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