Las Vegas Sun

February 18, 2019

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Uber pays tickets for drivers cited at McCarran

Terminal 3 Preview

This is a view of the parking garage and McCarran International Airport’s Terminal 3 Saturday, June 2, 2012.

After the Clark County district attorney sent a letter asking Uber and Lyft to cease operations at the airport, the ride-hailing companies have instructed their drivers to comply with the county’s order, the two companies confirmed Tuesday, but Uber has been reimbursing drivers who were cited.

When the ride-hailing companies launched in Las Vegas last week, without a county business license or permits to operate on the county’s airport property, drivers nevertheless dropped off and picked up passengers at McCarran International Airport. As of Monday, the county had cited 237 Uber and Lyft drivers on airport property.

One citation was issued Tuesday to Alfredo Sardinas-Raya, a former taxi driver who was driving for Uber at McCarran. He said that he informed the company, which offered to reimburse him the cost of the $100 ticket.

Uber confirmed that it was paying its drivers’ citations in Las Vegas on a case-by-case basis. Lyft declined to say whether it was paying its drivers’ citations.

Initially, the companies believed they could operate at the airport under the approval that they received from state regulators. In a Sept. 15 email, Uber instructed its drivers that they “could drop off riders at the airport.” A day later, the district attorney sent letters to Uber and Lyft, instructing the companies to cease their operations at the airport.

“Uber has geofenced the location so riders cannot request an Uber at the airport and has messaged to drivers that they will get cited if they drop off,” Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend said Wednesday. “We remain committed to continuing discussions with the airport and developing a permit for [ride-hailing] service at the airport."

Chelsea Wilson, a Lyft spokeswoman, said the company received reports of drivers being cited at the airport last week. She added: “We have been in touch with those drivers to provide support and remind them that operations are not permitted at the airport.”

It’s unlikely that an airport permit would be finalized until at least Oct 20., when county commissioners will hold a hearing to discuss licensing Uber and Lyft. One of the prerequisites to operate at the airport is a county business license.

Uber and Lyft continue to operate in the rest of Clark County without a county business license. Although county officials have not cited any drivers outside of the airport’s jurisdiction, the District Attorney’s Office has been exploring legal options.

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