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Lyft to end service at Sky Harbor in January

The rideshare company notified the City of Phoenix two weeks ago after the city council approved a surtax increase.

PHOENIX — Lyft made the decision to stop operation at Sky Harbor International Airport as of January 2020, the rideshare company said on a letter sent to the City of Phoenix.

The announcement was made after the City council voted to increase a tax imposed on rideshare companies on Oct. 16.

"We have reviewed our options at Sky Harbor and, without an alternative path forward, we are obligated to prevent the unfair penalization of our drivers and riders by ceasing operations at the airport beginning January 2020," Lyft executive Bakari Block wrote in a letter to city leaders dated two weeks ago. 

Block said the current fee is $2.66 for pick-up only. The fee will increase to $4 for pick up and $4 for drop off in 2020. The tax rate would increase 25 cents each year until it reaches $5 for pick-up and $5 for drop off by 2024.

RELATED: Fees for Uber, Lyft rides at Sky Harbor Airport could increase

The rideshare company said 44% of people who use their services pay an average of $10 and being mostly low-income families.

Lyft sent 12 News the following statement via email:

"We have reviewed our options at Sky Harbor and believe we are obligated to prevent the unfair penalization of our drivers and riders. They should not have to shoulder the burden of the city’s budget shortcomings for the Sky Train—a capital improvement project that is unrelated to their choice of transportation. We are currently engaged in ongoing conversations with airport leadership and we are hopeful we will be able to come to a more equitable solution before the fee goes into effect in January."

But the city argued the new fees would help encourage the use of the Sky Train and ease congestion at the airport's pick-up and drop-off curbs.

The City Council will consider the fee increase again on Dec. 18., according to City of Phoenix spokeswoman Julie Watters.

RELATED: Sky Harbor installs 2 private nursing suites past security in Terminal 4

 “This bad policy will directly hurt working and middle-class families who rely on rideshare in Phoenix,” said Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio in a statement Monday.