LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday – just in time for the holiday travel rush – ride-share company Lyft will officially be allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at Los Angeles International Airport, making it the first transportation network company (TNC) to be licensed for this service at the airport, officials said Tuesday.
Unlike taxis on the ground floor, travelers will pick up their Lyft ride on the upper level where departures are. The Lyft app won’t activate until they are on the curbside and ready to go. And there will be a $4 fee that goes to the airport.
“I just think being allowed to pick up passengers, period, from airport will be an awesome boost in income,” said Lyft driver Feltone Williams.
Travelers, who say ride-sharing is less expensive and more convenient than taxis, seem to like it too.
“Giving more choices to the consumer is ultimately a great thing,” said traveler Mick Boraso.
But taxi drivers do not agree. “All the cab drivers, we are not happy.” Cabbie Michael Kang said it’s unfair competition because cab drivers have to follow more government rules including background checks.
He said until now, the airport taxi line is his money maker. “Right now, we lost a lot of business,” Kang said. “The government, they don’t take any action. We are worried about our future.”
The Los Angeles City Council approved a blanket agreement earlier this year to allow Lyft and other similar companies, such as Uber, to apply for permits to operate at LAX alongside taxis, shuttles and other transportation services.
Until Tuesday’s announcement, the companies could already drop off passengers at LAX, but were unable to legally make pick-ups – a restriction some ride-hailing companies have worked around by picking people up just off airport property.
Uber is also in the process of obtaining a permit to operate at LAX.
“As we continue rebuilding nearly every terminal at the airport, and work to bring rail to LAX, our passengers deserve access to all available options to ensure they have an excellent experience,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.