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.
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.
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.
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.?