LAX curbside ban has Uber, Lyft, and taxi passengers frustrated
LOS ANGELES, CA — Curbside taxi and ride-hailing pickups in the Los Angeles International Airport terminal area officially ended Tuesday, earning some positive reviews from travelers, condemnation from taxi drivers and praise from airport officials who said traffic is already improving on the famously clogged LAX horseshoe.
Beginning at 3 a.m., passengers looking to take a taxi or Lyft/Uber ride from the airport were required to walk or take a shuttle bus to a remote pickup lot just east of Terminal 1. Airport officials said moving such pickups was essential due to ever-increasing congestion in the terminal area.
But taxi drivers blasted the move, saying the elimination of curbside pickups would be the death knell for an industry already struggling to compete with the app-based ride-hailing services.
When the new system took effect, bright green buses began circulating through the terminal area in a dedicated traffic lane, carrying passengers to the remote lot dubbed LAX-it. The lot, equipped with amenities such as restrooms, phone-charging stations, and free Wi-Fi, has pickup lanes for taxis and ride-hailing services.
Previously, taxi drivers could pick up passengers directly outside airport terminals on the LAX lower/arrivals level, while ride-hailing services did so at designated pickup spots on the upper level. Some passengers said they found the new system to be an improvement.
“You have people kind of weaving in and out constantly (in the terminal area), so it’s hard to spot your driver, have them merge over and then get out of the way,” traveler Nicole Gasten told ABC7. “It just was never that convenient.”
Yader Hernandez, another traveler, agreed.
“This feels a little bit better than usual, because Uber coming in, especially at night, it’s just so congested,” he told Channel 7. “So hopefully it helps the congestion.”
Some passengers complained on Twitter about long lines and crowds of people at the LAX-it lot, with one noting, “Not really what I want to see after 15 (hours) on a plane.” Another complained that it “takes 5x longer than just getting a ride from the airport.” Another said there was confusion in the terminal area about where the shuttle buses would be stopping.