Pixel Tracker

Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 2:21 am | Fair 45º


Uber, Lyft Sign Agreements with Santa Barbara Airport

Visitors arriving at Santa Barbara Airport last weekend were a tad confused when pulling up Uber apps on their cell phones, discovering something had changed.

Instead of being able to summon the popular ride-sharing company’s cheapest UberX taxi service, one could only call upon an Uber Black — a more expensive option because it involves a luxury car instead of any available driver.

Several people sent complaints to the city of Santa Barbara, which is how Santa Barbara Airport officials found out about the puzzling modification.

Transportation network companies Uber and Lyft have been allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at the regional airport for more than a year, but because some drivers have been violating bans at larger airports such as the Los Angeles International Airport, the state intervened.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the ride-sharing companies, recently required them to produce documented authorization to operate at each airport.

As of earlier this week, both Lyft and Uber had signed official agreements with Santa Barbara Airport. Before now, they just had verbal go-aheads.

“Uber has always been allowed,” airport Operations Manager Tracy Lincoln told Noozhawk. “Whether it’s Uber, a limo or another cab, it’s all the same. We’ve not had any real problems with them.”

At Santa Barbara Airport, as long as drivers can confirm a pre-arranged pickup, they can load and unload like everybody else, he said.

Drivers for Uber and Lyft are independent contractors picking up passengers who request rides via cell phone, using a credit card to pay a rate that’s calculated based on length of time and distance.

Traditional taxis aren’t fans of the service for stealing business and because its drivers don’t have to secure individual business licenses and permits from the city to operate.

They claim Uber regularly violates a no-hail policy levied by the state commission — a concern shared by officials in many cities where the services operate.

Just this week, LA became the largest city in the U.S. to allow Uber, Lyft and the like to operate at LAX.

Uber came to Santa Barbara in October 2013, with Lyft following soon after.

“We are pleased to offer UberX and Uber Black at Santa Barbara Airport,” an Uber spokesperson said this week. “SBA is one of more than 20 airports around the U.S. that have embraced ride-sharing choice and innovation, and we look forward to connecting area residents and visitors to safe, reliable rides with uberX.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
"We both love this business. We strive to make life long relationships from each real estate transaction."

Full Profile >