San Jose clears Uber, Lyft for airport rides

Ride-booking services such as Lyft, Uber and Sidecar will be able to operate at Mineta San Jose International Airport under revisions approved Tuesday by the San Jose City Council.

Meanwhile, taxi drivers returned to work today after a two-day strike against the changes.

The council unanimously approved the modifications that allow ride-booking companies to conduct business at the airport under requirements including background checks through the California Public Utilities Commission, which doesn’t require fingerprints for the drivers.

The ride-booking service drivers will also need to obtain city business licenses. If they pass vehicle inspections that meet regulations from San Jose police or the CPUC, they can have restrictions waived on their car’s age and mileage.

Ride-booking service drivers will be subject to a random 1 percent audit once a month for airport officials to check their driver’s license and any violations such as outstanding warrants.

San Jose taxi drivers returned to normal operations today at the airport after going on strike Monday and Tuesday, airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.

Around 300 taxi drivers protested against the revised plan for the companies and demanded that all ride-booking service drivers obtain fingerprint checks, San Jose Airport Taxi Driver Association president Shakur Buni said.

The taxi drivers didn’t offer rides to customers at the airport on Monday and took their strike citywide on Tuesday, Buni said.

On Tuesday, the drivers gathered outside City Hall, voicing out their concerns before they attended the City Council’s meeting, Buni said.

Many ride-booking service drivers from Lyft and Uber also attended Tuesday’s meeting to inform the council of customer demand for service to the airport and measures they have taken to provide safe rides.

Taxi drivers called for the council to stick with a pilot program approved in June, which had stricter requirements for ride-booking serivce drivers that included submitting fingerprints.

The taxi drivers have also claimed that they are being charged far more than ride-booking companies per ride at the airport.