EDMUNDSON, Mo. – A St. Louis County municipality near the airport is cracking down on loitering rideshare vehicles.
The City of Edmundson calls itself the “front door to St. Louis-Lambert International Airport,” but now, the city is shutting the door on rideshare drivers looking for a place to wait before picking up their next fare.
"We were getting a lot of complaints from residents, a lot of complaints from the public," said Sgt. Matthew Anton, Edmundson Police Department.
In October, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting rideshare vehicles from parking on its streets and in business parking lots. Anton said it is a problem many of the municipalities near the airport are faced with, and other agencies are considering adopting similar ordinances.
Rideshare drivers must be within a certain proximity of the airport to receive calls for pick up. Edmundson sits across Interstate 70 from Terminal One.
As part of its 2017 agreement with Uber and Lyft, St. Louis-Lambert International Airport provides the companies with a free staging area for drivers, located about a mile from the airport at Cypress and I-70. The lot has 33 spaces.
According to transportation network driver Jim Kupets, that is not enough.
"There can be anywhere from 35 to as many as 110 cars, drivers, waiting in that area," Kupets said.
Anton said because of the lack of space for drivers, they were parking in business parking lots and on residential streets.
"The BP (gas station) has a very small parking lot, and there's not a lot of parking spaces, and a lot of the Uber and Lyft drivers were taking up an excess of 15 plus minutes and actually just sit there and actually just wait," he said.
Kratz Elementary School, part of the Ritenour School District, is located in Edmundson. Anton said many students walk to school, and parents worried about the additional traffic. Plus, residents were concerned about the unfamiliar vehicles parking on their streets.
Anton said, for now, the department is giving out verbal warnings to help educate drivers about the new rules. Drivers will not be ticketed for stopping for gas, patronizing businesses and restaurants, or picking up riders.
"The major thing is, if you're parked on a city street, you're there for more than 15 minutes, and you're actually just causing a traffic hazard, then that's where the issue comes into play," he said.
Kupets said he understands the purpose of the ordinance, but he said it does not address the root of the problem.
"I think we need to get together and sit at a table and try and come up with a solution to the underlying problem of nowhere for as many drivers as are posted to stage, actually have a space to stage," he said.
Lyft released the following statement to Fox 2 in response to the ordinance:
"Lyft has made getting to and from airports easier and more convenient for millions of people across the country. We want to be respectful of limited parking in Edmundson, while continuing to provide people there a reliable and affordable transportation option. We continue to comply with all applicable state laws and regulations.
"We’ve worked collaboratively with other local communities and airports on how best to utilize curb space, carpool lanes, and loading zones, and hope moving forward we can work collaboratively with Edmundson and airport leadership to make sure people are getting to where they are going safely and efficiently."