Airport: Uber drivers must have permit to operate

Airport: Uber drivers must have permit to operate

As the holidays approach and airports prepare for the busiest time of the year, the Charleston International Airport is sending out a message that Uber drivers are not allowed to provide rides at the airport without the proper permit.

Meanwhile, the driving service, run by drivers who use their own vehicles, are still giving rides without those permits.

It only takes a few clicks on the phone, on the Uber app, and within minutes an Uber driver will be at a location to pick you up.

It's convenience Uber driver Mike Mitchell says can't be beaten.

"Punch in your Uber account, and say, 'hey I want a driver' and it will send me or the closest person a message," said Mitchell.

Taxi drivers and shuttle services have special permits to give rides at the airport. Uber drivers don't have that permit.

"You just have to have a drivers license," said Mitchell. "Have a safe vehicle."

Because Uber drivers lack that permit, the airport doesn't want them giving rides.

Deputy Director of Airports and Administration and Public Safety Al Britnell said they're keeping an eye out for Uber drivers, checking if the same vehicle continues to come through the pick-up line.

Britnell says, first the airport authority will give a warning. Then, a citation.

They've only given one citation so far, for $457, and dozens of warnings.

Still Uber feels it's not doing anything wrong, and issued this statement, "Uber is the safest, most reliable and affordable way to get to and from the airport, and riders expect and deserve to have that option when traveling. We look forward to continuing conversations with state and airport officials to find a permanent home for ride-sharing throughout South Carolina."

Meanwhile, each Uber driver has the right to deny ride requests.

Mitchell, who was unaware of the airport's stance on Uber rides, said he just wants to provide transportation and earn some extra money.

From now on, he says he'll obey the rules at the airport.

For more information on how to get a charter permit and operate at the airport, click here:

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