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Uber, Lyft get OK to operate at San Francisco airport, while ride-sharing rules get hammered out in Orlando

Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft will soon be able to legally pick up and drop off passengers at San Francisco International Airport.

Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft will soon be able to legally pick up and drop off passengers at San Francisco International Airport.  (AP)

Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft will soon be able to legally pick up and drop off passengers at San Francisco International Airport.

Airport Director John L. Martin said in a statement Monday that SFO is the first U.S. airport to strike such a deal with both companies.

The companies expect to begin operating at the airport within a month.

A similar agreement was reached with ride-share company Sidecar last week.

The move comes as the companies receive increasing legal heat from San Francisco and other cities.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon last month sent warning letters to the three companies saying they could face legal action if they don't change their driver screening policies and other business practices.

State regulators had warned the companies they could be shut down over unauthorized airport rides.

Meanwhile, the City of Orlando is inching closer to new rules that will allow ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, but those companies will likely have to charge higher rates than cab companies. 

The city held its second workshop on potentially changing the rules for taxi service.  

Uber and Lyft have been working outside the city's taxi rules since they began serving the Orlando area this summer. City regulators have been ticketing their drivers and towing their cars, but enforcement is tough because drivers use unmarked personal vehicles.

For the ride sharing companies to become legit, Orlando would create a new category for ride-sharing companies, which use a smartphone app to connect passengers with people willing to give them a ride for a fee.

As with taxi companies, Uber and Lyft drivers would have to obtain permits from City Hall and Orlando International Airport. They'd also have to undergo background checks approved by the city, allow their vehicles to be inspected and carry commercial liability insurance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.