An Airport Guide for Rideshare Drivers

Uber drivers can pick up riders at Brisbane airport

Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all guide here. Not only does each state in Australia have different rules and regulations, but even the different airports within a state have different rules.

I’m going to cover the two airports that I’m familiar with, namely Brisbane and Sunshine Coast, both in Queensland.

My colleague on this website, Sam Griffiths, will cover the Melbourne airports at Tullamarine and Avalon and we’ll both investigate other Australian airports to bring you their current rules and regulations.

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Brisbane Airport

Because Queensland legalised Uber and compensated the taxi industry, it’s no surprise that Brisbane airport has handled the situation in the best possible way. In particular

  • You can drop off your rider anywhere that a taxi or private car is permitted. So typically outside the Departures entrance for the appropriate airline

  • As soon as you enter the airport area, you are placed in a queue for rider requests. So it’s no longer a question of how close you are to the pickup point. You receive rider requests according to your position in the queue

  • You can register your eTag with the airport. This entitles you to enter a designated waiting area where you can wait for your next ride at no charge

  • There’s a specified pickup area that you can move to and direct your rider to.


Domestic Terminal

BrisbaneAirport1.jpg

  1. Register your eTag at t.uber.com/bneregister.

  2. After dropping off your ride, you can wait in the Airpark for up to one hour without charge. The Airpark is signposted as Pre-Booked Express Ride Booking.

  3. Wait for a rider request (ping) to come through and accept it. Call your rider and direct them to the correct pick-up zone.

  4. Drive through the boom gate to enter the pickup zone.The correct lane is the second to the let (the leftmost lane is for taxis). The boom gate is labelled Ride Booking Pickup Zone. It should open automatically, triggered by your eTag.

International Terminal

  1. Assuming you’ve already registered your eTag, follow the signage to Taxi Pickup Zone.

  2. Continue down the ramp and turn left. The boom gate should open, activated by your eTag.

  3. Take a sharp right and proceed to the last lane.

  4. Follow the sign (on the ground) reading Pre-Booked Express and Ride Booking.


Online Video

You can get all the current Brisbane airport information at:



Including a video demonstrating all of the steps required.

Sunshine Coast Airport

I have to admit it.

I just love the Sunshine Coast airport at Marcoola. It’s just so laid back and, well, Queensland.

Here’s a personal anecdote to illustrate what I mean.

I was delivering passengers (a lovely young couple) from Noosa to the Sunshine Coast airport when I had the misfortune to get a left front tyre puncture along the motorway.

My tyres were due for replacement anyway, so I guess I’d left it a bit too long.

It was hammering down rain, so no way was I going to stop and risk my life changing a wheel in the rain on a 110 km/hr motorway. Besides, I had passengers who needed to catch their flight.

The tyre was deflating rapidly, but not yet down to the rim, so I kept going but at reduced speed.

To cut a long story short, I made it to the airport with a shredded tyre, my riders were appreciative and grateful and I was stopped outside the departure lounge, where you are allowed to drop off passengers but not to park.

Soon enough, I was approached by a guy in a hi-vis vest and I explained that I was waiting for roadside assistance. “No worries, mate. I’ll let everyone know.”

But by then I had another problem - a fairly urgent need for the toilet. Hi-vis guy explained that unfortunately I couldn’t leave my car because of Federal law (presumably due to anti-terrorism and car bombs). So I resolved to hold onto it.

A few minutes later, a more senior hi-res vest guy came out and said “Grab your toilet break, mate. I’ll watch the car.” I can’t imagine that happening in Sydney or Melbourne. Probably not in Brisbane, either.

Virtual Queue

Just like in Brisbane airport, as soon as you enter the immediate airport vicinity, you are placed in a virtual queue.

As soon as I’ve dropped my rider off, I have a look at the rider app to see how many other Uber drivers are at the airport.

So if there’s 3 other drivers, for example, I’ll assume I’m fourth in the queue.

Then I’ll have a look at the flight arrivals at

https://www.sunshinecoastairport.com.au/Flights/Arrivals-and-Departures

And make a decision on staying and waiting or not.

If there’s a Melbourne flight arriving, there’s a good chance there’ll be passengers looking for a ride to Noosa, where I live.

Waiting for a Ride

There are two alternatives as to where you can wait.

  1. Legally, in the nearby industrial area. Proceed as if you were leaving the airport (towards David Low Way) but turn right at the first roundabout into the industrial area and park wherever you can. Or, if you go into Cessna Avenue, there's a nice little coffee shop where you can get a takeaway coffee and a snack. They also have a toilet you can use.
  2. Illegally, which I naturally don’t recommend. But… if you turn left along Friendship Avenue instead of proceeding to the airport dropoff and pickup areas, you’ll see a lot of businesses that you can park outside on the road. Just be prepared to move on if you see an official airport van proceeding towards you!

I’ll generally wait if there’s a flight arriving within the next 20 minutes or so. Otherwise, I figure I’m better off heading for home and picking up rides along the way.





There seems to be a wide variety of experience and opinions when it comes to airport dropoffs and pickups. Some angst as well, as evidenced by the taxi blockade at Tullamarine when the Victorian government legalised airport transfers for Uber drivers.

We'd love to hear any feedback you might have for us.

mm

Phil Lancaster

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