Ridesharing company ‘Lyft’ returning to Albuquerque

City of Albuquerque signs contract with Lyft to operate at Sunport

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Beginning Thursday, Albuquerque residents will be able to use the ride-sharing service, Lyft once again. After more than a year the company is making a return to the Duke City.

The City of Albuquerque signed a contract with Lyft on Tuesday to operate at the Albuquerque International Sunport.

“It is good for the consumers I think for the competition,” said Bill Dewan, who used Lyft and Uber in Albuquerque when they were both available more than a year ago.

Lyft is now returning to Albuquerque on Thursday.

Similar to Uber, anyone needing a ride can connect with nearby drivers through their smartphone.

“If you’re late or if you just feel way too stressed out to deal with transit, it’s amazing to know you have that backup option,” said Emily Kedar, visiting Albuquerque from Toronto.

Lyft left Albuquerque more than a year ago after a long battle with the Public Regulation Commission. Then this year the law changed, and Governor Susana Martinez signed a bill embracing ride-sharing businesses.

New rules were laid out for companies like Uber and Lyft, including requirements for drivers to undergo background checks against criminal and sexual offender databases.

The companies are also required to pay the PRC an annual $10,000 permit fee.

“It’s jobs on one equation for individuals wanting to do this type of work, it’s convenience and opportunity for those wanting to utilize the service, and it can decrease on DWI driving,” said Gilbert Montaño, Mayor Richard J. Berry’s Chief of Staff.

The City of Albuquerque on Tuesday signed a contract with Lyft to conduct pick-ups and drop-offs at the Albuquerque Sunport, the same deal Uber signed onto last summer.

“We’re excited,” Montaño said. “I think healthy, fruitful competition in a market arena like this is a positive step.”

However, there’s at least one group not too excited about Lyft’s return to the Sunport.

“It’ll hurt us a little more,” Mike Kallenberger said.

Kallenberger has been a full time cab driver in the Duke City since 2003.

“It’s probably cut in half now, jobs that we have,” Kallenberger explained. “A lot of full time cab drivers are trying to find something else. It’s slowed down that much.”

He said cabs can’t compete with Lyft and Uber’s low prices since they aren’t held to the same standards.

Kallenberger said he’s seen the business change a lot since he’s been around.

“I’ll stick with it,” he told KRQE News 13. “We’ll see what happens.”

As part of the contract with the City of Albuquerque, Lyft will pay the city a dollar for each pick-up and drop-off at the Sunport. That money goes back into projects and maintenance for the Sunport.

The City of Albuquerque made about $5,000 since July 2015 from a similar Sunport contract with Uber.

City officials said each cab company pays the City of Albuquerque a flat rate of $1,200 per month to operate at the Sunport, since they do not monitor individual pick-ups and drop-offs at the airport.

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