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Airports

LAX Passengers Encounter Nightmare Delays for Ride Share

LAX Passengers Encounter Nightmare Delays for Ride Share
Jeff Edwards

A new system put in place for arriving passengers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) who wish to take advantage of ride-sharing services such as Lyft or Uber had its first real test this weekend. By Monday, airport officials responded to negative feedback from travelers with a promise to increase the number of shuttle buses between the ride-share lot and the terminals among other changes.

A lot is riding on the new ride-share lots at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Officials hope that moving Uber, Lyft and most taxi pickups to a satellite location will help to ease traffic on the airport’s notoriously congested central terminal “horseshoe” leading to the terminals.

“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,” Deputy Executive Director for Operations and Emergency Management Keith Wilschetz said in a statement unveiling the new ground transportation scheme. “LAX-it will provide an easy, efficient experience for guests using taxis and ride apps and reduce overall traffic in and around the central terminal area for all those driving to and from LAX and our neighbors.”

This weekend, the new “LAX-it” pick-up area received its first serious test and the reviews were somewhat mixed. Unlike other U.S. airports that have implemented similar satellite pickup areas in place, the Lax-it ride-share area is billed as being accessible by a “short walk from many terminals.” For travelers who opted to use the dedicated LAX-it shuttles, however, the new system wasn’t without its bugs.

Although passengers report that the shuttle buses arrived every five minutes as promised, Los Angeles ABC-affiliate KABC reports that some arriving passengers were stuck on the shuttles for close to an hour during peak travel times. Airport officials blamed the delay on ride-share drivers misunderstanding the new system. The airport says it has added even more shuttles and it has also added signs to help passengers make their way to the LAX-it lot and to help drivers to navigate the new traffic patterns.

While the new ground transportation plan has proven to be something of a challenge, according to an airport spokesperson, moving taxis and ride-shares to the new lot will reduce traffic on the horseshoe by nearly a third. Authorities estimate that nearly 27,000 taxis and ride-share cars were previously waiting for passengers on the central terminal access roads each day, clogging traffic lanes which were already reduced by construction of the new LAX people mover. The LAX-it ride-share lot is, in fact, planned only as a stop-gap measure put in place until the automated tram system is completed in 2023.

Although most frequent LAX travelers in FlyerTalk forums lament having to take a shuttle bus to their chosen car service, nearly everyone agrees that something needed to be done about the increasingly untenable traffic on the horseshoe. There were also plenty of uncannily accurate predictions that the airport would bungle the launch of the new LAX-it lot.

FlyerTalkers also report that similar concepts employed at airports around the country have proven to be both effective and hassle-free. In the case of LAX, the benefits are expected to be seen both by ride-share users and fellow motorists (eventually).

“I suspect they’ll also switch to the queue system they’ve been trying at PDX: When you’re headed out to the ride-share pickup point you request a ride and it gives you an ID number,” chrisl137 points out. “Uber and Lyft each have their own vehicle queue and you get in line at the appropriate queue. When you get to the front (which has so far been instant for me), you get in with the first driver, give them the number, they put it in their phone to see where you’re going and you’re on your way. Much faster than the previous way, which was even starting to be slow at PDX, which isn’t nearly as congested as LAX.”

Have you experienced the new “amenity-rich” and “convenient” LAX-It ride-share lot yet? Was the process as painless as promised or as frustrating as reported? Expert flyers are comparing notes and sharing ground transportation strategies in the FlyerTalk Los Angeles forums right now.

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. downinit

    November 5, 2019 at 5:40 am

    Boo hoo!! It is a short walk for half of the terminals and a max 15-20 minute walk for the furthest reaches of TBIT. The problem is that people have become so accustomed to being coddled that the notion of walking or catching a shuttle bus is simply beneath them. Everyone feels entitled to have curbside pickup; unfortunately, there is not nearly enough curb space or enough lanes to accommodate such lofty ideals. Maybe next time, they can consider taking the Flyaway, which serves a significant number of areas from the valley to Long Beach. Unfortunately, being eco-conscious on Insta does not involve taking a bus. EWW!!

  2. OUTraveling

    November 5, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Egh…I will just take the hotel shuttle and get an Uber at the Sheraton.

  3. kkua

    November 7, 2019 at 5:47 am

    First world problem! This wouldn’t have been an issue if LAX (and metro LA for that matter) had a robust and proper mass transit system where trains run on schedule and cars/petrol subsidize the cost of public transport.

  4. c502cid

    November 10, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    “Walking in LA” Missing Persons 1983

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