Los Angeles International Airport announced that starting at the end of October, taxis and ride-share app services will no longer be able to pick up passengers at terminal curbs.
Instead, LAX said passengers can walk or take a free shuttle to LAX-it, a lot adjacent to Terminal 1. LAX-it is part of a $14.3 billion modernization renovation at the airport.
Drop-offs will still occur at Terminal curbs.
LAX officials say this new system will reduce traffic and provide a better experience for drivers and passengers.
“Anyone who has come to LAX knows that traffic in the Central Terminal Area can get rough, and we have heard from our guests that the current system with ride pickups can be frustrating," said Keith Wilschetz, Deputy Executive Director for Operations and Emergency Management, Los Angeles World Airports wrote in a statement to Annenberg Media.
While LAX officials hope this new system will be more convenient for drivers and riders, rideshare companies expressed concerns.
Rideshare company Uber said they want to work with LAX officials to provide a “safe, orderly and enjoyable experience for their shared passengers,” but expressed concerns about certain aspects of the plan.
In an email to LAX officials obtained by Annenberg Media, Uber expressed their gratitude for being included as a stakeholder in the plan but outlined concerns they hope to address before the lot opens that they had previously communicated to airport officials.
One of the main concerns is the size of the lot. In the email, Uber stated that they were allocated 37 stalls for pickups. “Uber alone sees nearly 500 pickups per hour on average. During regular peak periods, we see over 1,000,” the statement said.
For comparison, Uber was given 16 stalls for fewer than 200 pickups during peak at Portland International Airport. “This implies a pickup space nearly half of what we believe is needed to deliver consistent wait times under 5 minutes once riders are in the LAX-it lot.”
Other concerns from Uber included bottlenecking and gridlock in the pickup and exit lanes during peak periods that would result in congestion and lengthy wait times and the possibility of passengers circumventing the lot by going to nearby streets or hotels just off the airport property to call rides and avoid pickup delays.
Uber also requested low-volume test runs before the lot opens, expand the size of the lot and a contingency plan if LAX-it fails to meet “minimum acceptable standards.”
In an official statement to Annenberg Media, Lyft expressed their desire to work with LAX officials to provide the best experience for passengers.
"We have been working closely with the LAX airport leadership and we look forward to continued collaboration with the Airport leadership on how to best reduce terminal congestion, lessen wait times for drivers and riders, and provide the best possible pick up and drop off experience for all Lyft users,” said Lyft officials
LAX-it will offer a set of amenities including restrooms, benches, umbrellas for sun and rain protection, local food trucks, cell-phone charging stations and WiFi. LAX staff will be available at each shuttle stop to help with directions, questions, luggage loading and assistance for guests with disabilities. All amenities at the lot will be built in compliance with The Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the LAX statement, the shuttles will operate in a dedicated lane on the lower arrivals level, where they will not compete with other airport traffic and will take guests from any terminal to the new pickup area. Shuttles will come every three to five minutes during peak hours and make a maximum of two stops before heading to LAX-it.