Fernandes Secures Amendment For Airport Ride Share Regulations

Barnstable, Dukes, Nantucket State Rep. Dylan Fernandes

HYANNIS – During a day-long debate on transportation revenue legislation last week recently, State Representative Dylan Fernandes negotiated an amendment to give Cape and Islands commercial airports the same power already afforded to Massport airports to regulate rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft.

In 2016, the state passed the “Transportation Network Company” bill which allowed only Massport airports to regulate ridesharing companies.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, there are eight commercial airports in Massachusetts, three of which operate under Massport.

Those include Boston, Worcester, and Hanscom.

Among the five not under Massport, four are on the Cape and Islands; Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Barnstable, and Provincetown.

The bill allowed Massport airports to regulate the costs of rideshare companies when dropping people off at the airport and what fees they could impose.

Now all eight commercial airports in the state will have that power.

“This legislation is about making sure the Cape and Islands are treated equally when it comes to state policy,” Fernandes said.

“After Boston Logan, Nantucket airport is the busiest airport in Massachusetts and the Vineyard and Cape airports are not far behind. Airports in our region deserve to be empowered by the state with the same rights as Massport airports.”

Traditionally Nantucket Airport serves more commercial passengers on a yearly basis than Worcester Regional and Hanscom Field, and revenue from a tax on rideshare companies could bring in $75,000 annually at the Nantucket Airport alone.

“Representative Fernandes came to bat for Cape and Islands Airports,” said Noah Karberg, Assistant Airport Manager for Nantucket Memorial Airport.

“This amendment is a win-win-win. Airport sponsors, airport businesses, and airport passengers can all now work together to enable customer choice in a safe and fair environment for all involved.”

“The Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission is pleased that this amendment has been adopted, and in time for the summer season,” said Martha’s Vineyard Airport Director Cindi Martin.

“This will level the playing field for ground transportation operators at the airport, and provide a way for the Commission to regulate ground transportation services provided to the flying public.”

Fernandes’ amendment also closes a loophole created by the 2016 law.

“It was also an issue of making sure that we have state polices that do not have loopholes that leaves out the Cape and Islands,” added Fernandes.

“The amendment I filed closes this loophole that left out the Cape and Islands and it’s really all about that our region is treated equally when it comes to state policy.”

The amendment will also help local taxi companies on Barnstable County.

“Ride sharing companies have been allowed to proceed largely unregulated. As the head of a family-owned and operated small business, I appreciate that this new legislation begins to level the playing field,” said Melaney West, owner of Stagecoach Taxi on Martha’s Vineyard.

State data shows that the use of rideshare services to travel to and from airports is increasing.

The authority granted through Fernandes’ amendment looks to become a critical tool for municipal airports to generate revenue.

The transportation bill now moves to the senate for further deliberation.

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