You stumble off the plane. All you want to do is get home — quickly. Light rail won’t cut it. You didn’t park at the airport, either. Now, due to a recent change at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, you can turn to Uber and request a pickup via UberX, the least expensive of the four levels of service provided by that fleet of free-range individuals offering rides in their personal vehicles.
Before the April 21 change, fliers could get dropped off at the airport using the service, but not picked up.
Traditional taxis are practically synonymous with the airport, and those companies and drivers are upset by the change. Airport cabdrivers pay permit and insurance fees of more than $3,000 a year, according to a recent Star Tribune report. Uber drivers are not currently regulated by the airport, though that will change with an ordinance that will be completed by the fall, according to Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan.
Beyond that discord with taxis, all is not rosy in the Uber universe. Though Uber checks the driving and criminal backgrounds of its drivers, some unease remains. Potential customers were spooked when a Kalamazoo, Mich., Uber driver shot and killed six people in February, though none were his passengers. Uber may pull out of Houston, where the city requires drivers to undergo fingerprint background checks.
At MSP, travelers now have a choice. And many are happily choosing the relatively inexpensive UberX option.
Using Uber is easy: Download the app to your cellphone. Set up an account and provide credit card information. When you need a ride, input a pickup location, add your destination, check Uber’s fare estimate and then tap the “Request” button. Once a driver accepts your request, you get his or her name, make of car and estimated arrival time. The credit card on file pays for the ride. And you’re home.
Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.