WILMINGTON – Ride sharing service Uber and Wilmington International Airport (ILM) have entered into a one-year agreement that would allow the taxi alternative to pick up visitors flying into town.
While Uber has already been able to drop passengers off at the airport, the contract gives Uber five designated parking spaces in ILM’s cell phone lot, which is located in front of customs. Drivers who are authorized to provide service at the airport will wait in those spots, which will be separate from the line where airport-authorized taxi drivers wait for customers. Passengers who call for an Uber through their mobile app will be directed to one of the vehicles in the designated spots.
“Uber worked with airport officials and customized the Uber app to minimize congestion at the airport and make the pick-up experience quick and seamless for riders and driver-partners,” states a news release on the partnership. “When driver-partners enter the airport, they’re placed in an electronic queue via the app, and can wait for requests in the designated staging lot. Requests are sent to the driver who arrived first, so there is no need to block traffic at the terminal.”
According to the airport’s Deputy Director Gary Broughton, the agreement is a result of months of negotiating.
“We’ve been talking with Uber for about a year,” Broughton said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
As ILM continues to see increases in passengers and is in the midst of preparing for a large influx during next May’s PGA Tour Wells Fargo Championship, the partnership with Uber is another way to provide more services for fliers.
“It’s all part of the constant growth you see at the airport,” said Broughton, who added that the number of spaces was limited to five because that’s the number Uber asked for. “And because it’s only a one-year contract, after the year is up, we can go back and look at it, look at the numbers, and adjust what we need to. Maybe we’ll see that we need more than five spaces.”
Though the contract has been signed, Broughton said no launch date has been set yet as Uber works to get the drivers and their vehicles ready with the proper authorization and markings. In a statement, Uber North Carolina General Manager Raj Naik said the company is looking forward to serving ILM.
“Uber offers a safe, reliable, and affordable transportation option for travelers,” said Naik. “We’re happy that we can provide support for the Wilmington International Airport through this new agreement, and we hope our partnership ensures a seamless experience for residents and visitors alike.”