ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando International Airport officials on Thursday ordered Uber and Lyft drivers to remove their tents and tables from a parking lot where they wait for riders.
Officials said they fear the objects could become hazards if they blow into the road, because some drivers leave the items when they pick up customers.They also said they don't want the area to look like a campground.
Although drivers may continue to use chairs, the airport said it now requires drivers to pack the chairs up before leaving the lot to pick up a rider.
Drivers are required to stage in a parking lot to receive trip requests. The lot has about 100 spaces, but on Friday morning, there were more than 130 Lyft drivers on airport property.
"People fight over parking spaces," driver Michael Marks said. "People line up over here, and when somebody pulls out, they try to get in."
On Friday, Channel 9's Jeff Deal spotted people seated in camping chairs, office chairs and kitchen chairs. Some even had tables set up.
A driver who asked to not be identified showed Deal footage of tents that were set up for shade.
"They say if we don't take out the chairs, they (are going to) trespass us, and we cannot pick up more people from the airport," he said.
Marks said South Florida's airports are more hospitable to drivers.
"Miami airport and Fort Lauderdale airport -- they have covered seating areas. They allow food trucks to come in," he said.
OIA said it's not required to provide any space for drivers and said that ride-sharing companies don't pay to maintain the lot.
Uber said it pays the airport $5.80 per ride -- the highest rate of any airport nationwide.
Both Uber and Lyft said they support building a larger lot to avoid having the mess.
Airport officials said they would be open to discussing it, but they feel a larger lot would only draw more drivers.