The company's reasoning was outlined in a November 4 letter from a senior Lyft employee to the city's aviation head, a copy of which was shared by Phoenix City Council member Sal DiCiccio on Twitter on Monday.
BREAKING NEWS: Lyft to pull out of Sky Harbor in response to massive airport tax!— Sal DiCiccio (@Sal_DiCiccio) November 18, 2019
"Phoenix politicians are about to stick it to the public once again," said Councilman Sal DiCiccio. Read more: https://t.co/laCauzvEt2 pic.twitter.com/E1VOlbxZxW
"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," wrote Baraki Brock, Lyft's senior director of business to Phoenix Director of Aviation Services James Bennett.
In October, the Phoenix City Council approved a $4 fee for companies like Uber and Lyft each time one of their drivers picks up or drops off a rider at Sky Harbor. The fees would have begun in 2020, and gradually increase to $5 by 2024. The additional revenue would have gone toward paying for curbs, signage, and the Sky Train.
But, due to a technicality, the council must vote again on the fee in December, city spokesperson Stephanie Bracken said.
All but two of the seven voting members on the council, including Mayor Kate Gallego, voted for the measure in October. Council members DiCiccio and Jim Waring, both known as fiscal conservatives, voted against the ordinance.
In its letter to the city, Lyft invited airport officials to hold a meeting before the December vote to "discuss alternative options."