The San Jose City Council late Tuesday passed a one-year pilot program to let popular ride-sharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, pick up passengers at the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.
But it comes with new regulations the ride-sharing companies fought hard to avoid.
The pilot program passed with a 7-3 vote and will launch on Sept. 1. It requires drivers to submit to fingerprinting, background checks, vehicle inspections and fees.
Under current rules, ride-sharing companies can drop off passengers at the airport, but cannot pick them up without a taxi cab permit. The recommendation was made after airline passengers requested the use of these services because of their low fees and convenience.
Some cab drivers say they are upset because they will lose customers as a result of the higher fees.
"Why is it they don't have to face all the regulations like what we have to do?" cab driver Joseph Ortiz said. "I don't understand why they're bringing them out here. We've been here for 15-20 years and we've been doing a good job on it."
Ride-sharing companies use smartphone applications and pay $2.30 per fare, compared to cab companies that use a dispatch service and pay about $8 per fare, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Uber driver Alex Myachkin believes they offer better services, but he added, “I think everybody should be equal.”
Officials and drivers from Uber and Lyft attended Tuesday's meeting and tried to get the council to defer the pilot program.
Lyft provided the following statement after the council's decision:
"Airport officials worked for nine months with the ridesharing community to craft an agreement that complies with all state laws and is good for drivers, passengers and the City of San Jose. Today's vote overturned those negotiations in less than 48 hours and with no public debate. The result is that visitors traveling to the heart of Silicon Valley will not have the ability to take a Lyft ride from the airport in the same way they can at world class airports across the country including San Francisco International Airport, Austin Bergstrom International Airport and Portland International Airport."
Last year, San Francisco International Airport started allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to pick up passengers, even after protests from taxi cab drivers.