Uber Will Officially Be Allowed At LAX Within Weeks

In mid-July, Nick wrote about how the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved UberX and Lyft to pick up passengers at LAX as soon as late August. Previously neither service could pick passengers up at LAX, though UberBLACK and UberLUX could pick up passengers at the airport.

UberX

That being said, the details of the new access were still being figured out, especially when it comes to background checks, fingerprinting, green-fleet requirements, and disability access. All of which are reasonable things to discuss, in my opinion. And they were the topic of conversation at an LA City Council meeting yesterday, discussing UberX and Lyft expanding to LAX.

The good news is that a vote to reject the airport’s agreement with Uber and Lyft was shot down, and a subsequent motion to approve the motion passed. Via LA Weekly:

The issue was unusually divisive for a legislative body that tends to prefer unanimity. The council voted 7-8 on a motion to reject the airport’s agreement with Uber and Lyft. That motion would have required 10 votes to pass, so opponents fell three short. A subsequent motion to approve the agreement passed 9-6.

The LA City Council did add some further restrictions, specifically requiring UberX and Lyft to pick up passengers on the departures level, and also limiting each company to 40 cars within the airport complex at any one time. How they’d enforce this policy remains to be seen, though:

The airport has been worried about additional traffic on the airport’s loop road from ride-sharing vehicles. It will require that Uber and Lyft pick up passengers on the upper, drop-off level, where traffic is lighter — a requirement that Uber has opposed. The airport will also mandate an electronic “geofence” in an attempt to limit each company to 40 cars within the airport complex at any one time. In a letter to the airport, however, Uber said that it will be “technologically difficult, if not impossible,” for it to enforce that limit.

Bottom line

As a (hopefully) future LA resident, this is great news and long overdue. Ultimately getting an UberX from LAX wasn’t totally impossible. You could always pin your location to somewhere off of airport premises, and then most UberX drivers were willing to pick you up at the airport after you called them. Otherwise you could always take a shuttle to an airport-adjacent hotel and have them pick you up there.

Star-Alliance-First-Lounge-LAX-01

While Uber sometimes has questionable practices for expansion, ultimately technology can only be rejected for so long, and the taxi mafias can only bribe politicians for so long before it’s transparent what they’re doing.

I’m not really opposed to there being proper background checks and fingerprinting on Uber drivers, so if that ultimately comes as a requirement from the City Council, that might not be a bad thing.

Regardless, I look forward to UberX and Lyft finally being allowed at LAX.

What do you make of the LA City Council’s decision, and would you like to see UberX and Lyft drivers receive further background checks, fingerprinting, etc.?

Comments

  1. Living in LA you figure out what works for you. If my trip is short enough I use a corporate rate at the Parking Spot. If not, Uber has always been okay, but recently I found another service called Blacklane. It’s not the best option in EVERY city, but in some it’s cheaper than taxi/UberX.

    I think they offer on-demand now, but it kind of works on a next-day-type of system. You set your pickup and the driver meets you near the baggage claim. They email you when they have your confirmed driver, so you have his contact and car information. You have a standard option (US: Towncar, Europe: E-class, etc…), van (…van…) and Luxury (S-class, etc…).

    Taxes and tips are included, and everything is pre-paid. I used it in Paris a few times successfully…really, really happy with it. The drivers were excellent, and when I started having issues with AmEx, one of them offered me his wifi so I could chat with them from my laptop.

    The price in Paris was a few euros less than UberX, and the price in LA is very fair ($60-$70 from LAX to Downtown LA). Doesn’t hurt to have another option to shop when planning trips (San Francisco is not a city where it makes sense, btw…).

  2. Not sure how many cares but CVG aka cincinnati allows uberx and lyft now. Pickup and Drop off. Recent change that i just tested and worked.

  3. 99% of the time at any airport I opt to get picked up at the departure level because its less crowded and easier to find the driver. Sometimes the drivers are confused about coming to departures so I usually text, like “departures, 2nd level, upstairs,” to reenforce it. Also it helps to give the driver the door#, many airports have door#s at each door posted.

  4. Overall, I’m glad to see Uber bring some fresh ideas into an industry which is shady at best, corrupt / sweatshop at worst.

    Ben, I think you’ll find it interesting to know that there’s a push in Tampa to disband the Taxi & Limousine commission. For those who don’t know, the Tampa T&LC is the only one in the state of Florida and has “officers” which carry guns, but I believe they’re not sworn Leo’s. They’ve been harassing the snot out of Uber drivers, despite a court order telling them to do otherwise. I do hope to see them go – – the rates in Tampa are on par with NYC, so imagine just how expensive the trips are. A trip to TPA airport via Uber is ~$10-15. The same trip via Taxi is $40. And that’s a close location to the airport. Further out it’s even worse. Sad when it’s cheaper to rent an Enterprise car for a whole day (and have them pick up/drop off) than a single trip in a taxi. And you know the drivers aren’t getting all of that.

    One gripe with Uber – – at off hours it’s not always possible to get a car. It’s annoying when you zoom out and can see there are cars out there, but nothing in dispatch range. At times like that I’d be willing to pay the driver for their time/mileage etc get to me at that point.

  5. PDX is way ahead on this. For five months, we not only permit Uber and Lyft… they have their own exclusive island on the baggage level labeled “Transportation Network Companies”. They have to wait in the cell phone waiting area, but that’s only two minutes away. So, once you have your bag, you pull up the App, get your request accepted in 10 seconds (always a decent supply), and by the time you get to the door, they’re waiting. Awesome!

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