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Uber Carpooling Service To Begin Without Airport Permission

The Atlanta City Council may create a specific zone where Uber and Lyft drivers can find passengers, but for now it's still illegal for ride-sharing companies to pick up passengers at the airport.
The Atlanta City Council may create a specific zone where Uber and Lyft drivers can find passengers, but for now it's still illegal for ride-sharing companies to pick up passengers at the airport.
Credit JOHNNY KAUFFMAN / WABE

Starting Friday, the ride-sharing company Uber will launch a service called uberPOOL, allowing passengers in Atlanta to carpool.

Technically, Uber is not yet welcome at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, but the company is advertising it will allow carpools to and from the airport.

Four Locations  

Uber’s general manager in Atlanta, Keith Radford, says uberPOOL will also initially be available in downtown, Midtown and Buckhead.  

He said the company did not ask for permission from the airport before deciding to announce the carpooling option.

Right now, it’s illegal for Uber drivers to pick up passengers there.

“We have, you know, seen citations at that airport, but I think for us it’s a framework that we’re working on to try to make sure that as the airport grows and as Uber grows, that we really are a part of the community and working with the airport directly to make sure that that ride-sharing framework is reflected in the regulations,” Radford said.

Airport Talks

Radford says Uber is talking to the airport about all Uber pickups. He says he expects an agreement will be reached in a couple of months.

“Right now, you know, we’re having very constructive conversations with the airport administrators and City Council,” Radford said. “But in the meantime, we’re doing everything we can to really be a part of the community, address this congestion challenge in the city, which is really why uberPOOL is super exciting for Atlanta as a whole.”

uberpool
Hours of service in Atlanta.
CREDIT COURTESY OF UBERPOOL

‘Illegal Activity’

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport spokesman Reese McCranie said pick-ups by uberPOOL are not allowed.

“Only drop offs are allowed at this time,” McCranie said. “Pick ups are not permitted and remain illegal activity until new legislation is introduced and approved by the Atlanta City Council.”

A Cheaper Option

Customers will have to wait a little longer to get matched with someone traveling in the same direction, but Uber said the shared ride will be about 25 percent cheaper.

“People are coming to Atlanta expecting this option,” Radford said. “At the end of the day, [people] always want cheaper options to get around the city.”

He said a ride from Georgia Aquarium to Lenox Square might cost $25 with a taxi, $11 with Uber and about $8 with uberPOOL.

The carpooling service will only be available during rush-hour traffic, Friday nights till 3 a.m. and most of the day on weekends.