CLEVELAND — The frustration was palpable at an emergency hearing of Cleveland City Council Monday afternoon following back-and-forth changes at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
This weekend, the city announced that they were reversing the pick-up and drop-off policy that went into effect on January 1. Since then, passengers paying for transportation have been dropped off at the south end of the airport at Arrivals instead of curbside in front of their airline on the Departures level.
Council members said they first heard the news through media reports as they questioned airport director Robert Kennedy.
“I thought we were on the same page with this and this council; we need an explanation for how this happened and what is going to happen,” said Council President Kevin Kelley. “It’s not just that council wasn’t informed, it’s that the broader community wasn’t informed. Our traveling public learned about this on an abrupt basis.”
Director Kennedy said the reversal comes from learning they will need a longer lead time on construction projects and trying to avoid any major projects before the MLB All-Star game in July.
“So it became a decision late last week that it is better to go full-force on the construction process to try to shorten it down,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said the airport is also trying to accommodate for record-breaking numbers of travelers.
“There is only so much traffic you can fit in that limited amount of space,” Kennedy said. “As we add more and more people, it’s going to become more of an issue. So what we’re trying to do is get to something better, speed up the construction, so we can move back to a better plan.”
News 5 caught up with drivers we spoke with just before the changes went into effect in January, who said they are relieved things are going back to normal.
“It’s been rough, it’s been rough,” said Jeffrey Carrington of U-Mobile Car Service. “Some clients are elderly so it was rough taking them to the new drop-off spot, getting in, getting out, it was just rough.”
Raymond Murray, who owns Great Design Transportation, had said initially he didn’t think the new policy would last more than a few months. It lasted roughly six weeks.
“People don’t play well with changes like that and this was a drastic change, so we needed this, we needed people to stick up for this and change it back,” Murray added.
Curbside drop-off will be effective on Feb. 18 for Uber, Lyft, in-town taxis and limos. Kennedy said they are still working on a plan as to where shuttles will go.
The $4 fee that was also added to pick-ups and drop-offs will remain in effect, Kennedy said, with drivers needing to self-report until technology is in place to track it.