After a number of setbacks, UberX has (finally) been given the green light for full access to Los Angeles International Airport. Previously, UberX was only allowed to drop-off passengers at LAX and a “geofence” around the airport perimeter blocked any pickup requests. Those wishing to ride UberX from the LAX area had to get creative and find a way outside the geofence.
Beginning today at 8:00am, passengers will be able to request an UberX ride by opening the app and following these simple instructions.
- Select your vehicle type, terminal, and airline to request a ride.
- Due to LAX regulations, your driver may have to pick you up at the lower arrivals or upper departures level. Your driver will call you to confirm your pickup location.
- If your driver tells you to be picked up at the upper departures level, meet your driver curbside near the “Ride Service” signage.
It’s that simple!
Ride-share Debacle at LAX
If you haven’t been following the news regarding ride-sharing at LAX, here’s a quick rundown. In March, 2012, Uber began service at LAX through their UberBlack and UberSUV options. While certainly a better experience than riding with a taxi, both options cost a lot more than the same ride with UberX (the low-cost version of Uber).
UberX did offer airport pickups for a little while, although after the airport police began to crackdown, Uber announced in January, 2014, that UberX was temporarily blocked from picking up passengers at the airport.
For the next eighteen months, Uber went back and forth with the Los Angeles City Council to allow UberX pickups from the airport. In July, 2015, the Board of Airport Commissioners seemed to pave the way for Uber, but voting 11-2 in their favor. Not long after, the Los Angeles City Commission vetoed that vote and Uber went back to the drawing board. After the disappointing veto, Councilman Paul Krekorian said the following:
I could not care less if the vehicle picking up passengers has a checkered paint job or a pink mustache or numbers on the back…But it’s our responsibility to make sure that every person is safe and is treated with dignity
By October, 2015, UberX still did not have the ability to pickup passengers from the airport. In response to an article by the LA Times, and airport spokeswoman claimed that they were still waiting for “documents” from Uber. Beyond that, we were given very little information regarding the hold-up.
In December, Lyft, the primary competitor to UberX, was given the green light to begin operations at LAX. The first two weeks proved well for Lyft, who recorded over 50,000 passengers utilizing their service to and from the airport. Lyft had a head start, thanks in part to submitting their application to the airport ahead of Uber.
As with many airports, the user fee will be passed on to the rider. If utilizing UberX from LAX, expect to see a $4 fee added on to emailed statement you receive at the end of your ride.
Uber will pay the airport $4 per trip, similar to fees paid by other airport transportation providers to maintain roadways and to reduce traffic congestion in the Central Terminal Area
Next time you fly into Los Angeles, don’t forget to request a ride from UberX!
LAX Entry Photo Courtesy: Reed Saxon/AP