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McCarran airport nets $3M from ride-hailing companies

Rideshare companies are pumping millions of dollars into McCarran International Airport.

The airport received more than $3.1 million in nonairline revenue from ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft from Oct. 26 through July, airport data show.

The revenue’s source is a $2.45 fee Uber and Lyft pay anytime one of their contracted drivers picks up or drops off customers at McCarran.

In comparison, taxis pay a $2 fee for each trip they pick up at the airport and nothing to drop off passengers. From Oct. 26 through July, taxis paid the airport more than $5.9 million in fees.

The airport uses electronic geofencing technology to track drivers’ trips.

Lyft made more than 250,000 trips to and from the airport since October, when county commissioners approved a measure enabling transportation network companies to operate locally.

Uber has made more than 1 million trips.

Both companies are preparing for growth by already paying the county $75,000 a year so they can have an unlimited number of drivers operating.

“We’ve seen tremendous enthusiasm from riders and drivers,” Uber spokeswoman Taylor Patterson said. “I fully expect we’ll see more drivers come onto the platform over time.”

As of Aug. 22, Uber had more than 3,000 drivers licensed with Clark County and Lyft had more than 2,600. Uber and Lyft operations at McCarran International Airport

“In the last six months alone, we’ve more than tripled rides, grown our driver base by 2.8 times, and our passenger base by 2.5 times,” said Yacob Girma, Lyft’s general manager of Las Vegas.

There’s plenty of room for growth in passengers too.

In 2015, McCarran was the U.S.’s eighth busiest airport, according to Airports Council International. More than 45 million passengers traveled through, an increase of almost 6 percent from 2014.

But for local taxi drivers, Uber and Lyft’s gain could be their loss.

Taxis picked up about 117,000 fewer loads at McCarran from January through August when compared to the same months last year, airport data show.

Still, taxis have picked up close to 2.6 million loads of passengers from McCarran this year.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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