If you’ve ever landed at LAX and waited for a taxi or shuttle, you know it was not fun. No only did you have to wait in long lines, which seemed to last forever, but the taxi drivers for the most part were also unfriendly and had dirty and cramped cars. After using uberX all over the world I was bummed that LAX wouldn’t (until now) allow drivers to pick up passengers—only drop them off.
I live close to LAX and almost all the taxi drivers who have picked me up have gotten infuriated when I’ve told them I was headed to Manhattan Beach—to the point that it became really uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that after a certain point, I started hopping on the first hotel shuttle that I could get and then using Google/GPS to find the address of the shuttle’s destination. Then, I’d plug that address into uberX on the way, and by the time the shuttle arrived, my uberX driver would be waiting for me. It was great since I didn’t have to pay $26 to an unhappy taxi driver, the shuttle driver got a tip and my uberX driver made money and was happy. The trip usually cost around $14 and I was getting a better experience since the drivers were really cool and their cars were much cleaner and much more comfortable than a taxi.
But obviously, it wasn’t all that convenient. So when LAX started allowing UberPlus to pick up at LAX, I would usually opt for them—even though their service was more expensive than an uberX and a taxi.
But come September, LAX passengers will now be able to get picked up by uberX and Lyft at the airport. That’s because on Thursday, LA officials voted to allow ride services like these to pick up passengers at LAX, not just drop off.
The permits would require Uber and Lyft to pay $4 for each drop-off and $4 for each pickup. In both cases, the fee, collected by the airport agency and added to its general operating revenue, would probably be passed on to the passenger. The ride-hailing companies would be required to pay the airport at least $25,000 per month for the right to pick up at LAX.
Unlike taxis, Uber and Lyft drivers would drop off and pick up passengers only on the upper departure level, a requirement that the companies opposed. They would be required to wait in a holding area until receiving a request for a ride. No more than 40 ride-hail drivers would be allowed in the holding area at one time.”
I actually prefer to be picked up at the departures level since arrivals is almost always a complete mess. If you like some exercise after a flight, don’t have a lot of luggage and don’t want to deal with LAX’s traffic during peak periods, I would have uberX pick you up in front of United’s Terminal 8 if you’re flying into the Tom Bradley International Terminal or Terminal 4 (American), 5 (Delta) or 6. If you’re traveling on an airline arriving at Terminal 2 or 3 I would suggest getting picked up at the front of Terminal 1 (Southwest Airlines) so they can take the shortcuts and enter/exit the airport ,more quickly.
FYI: According to the Los Angeles Times, “a typical taxi from LAX to downtown Los Angeles is more than $50, not including tip. In periods of low demand, Uber or Lyft rides are closer to $30.”