LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In what will spell a major transition for millions of passengers at Los Angeles International Airport, LAX will no longer allow ridesharing drivers or taxi cabs to pick up passengers directly from its terminals beginning in late October.
All passengers will need to grab their ride from a special lot which will be located across from Terminal 1 starting Oct. 29.
LAX officials Friday unveiled the new lower level lot, named LAX-It, which is located at 9610 Sky Way, an approximately three minute walk from Terminal 1. Shuttles will also run between Terminal 1 and LA Exit every three minutes.
The new rule does not apply to drop-offs, only pickups.
“I want to emphasize, if you’re being dropped off at the airport by a ride app or a taxi, nothing changes from today, you can continue to go into the upper level at the Central Terminal Area,” said Keith Wilschetz, deputy executive director of operations and emergency management for LAX, in a news conference Friday. “This is only for pickups for the ride app or the taxis.”
The LAX-It lot will be capable of handling about 18,000 rideshare pickups per day.
Wilschetz explained that the advantage of this new system will be that rideshare cars will not have to fight traffic to get out of the Central Terminal Area once they pick up their passengers.
“Once you’re in your car, you’re right on Sepulveda, and that’s very important…We don’t anticipate anyone waiting longer than 25 minutes from the time you order your Uber or Lyft.”
The shuttles will also have their own dedicated lanes.
“So we can make sure that nothing gets in the way of this shuttle system, running very fast and very efficient and unimpeded, through the Central Terminal Area,” Wilschetz said.
The lot will remain in place until the new Automated People Mover opens in 2023.
“Once our people mover opens in 2023, this lot will go away, we will no longer need it,” Wilschetz said.
Wilschetz explained Friday that the airport has experienced a spike in congestion over the past few years that has made such a policy necessary.
“By 2022, the average summer day is going to be exactly the same as the day before Thanksgiving, the worst day two years ago, in 2017, and that is not acceptable at Los Angeles World Airports,” Wilschetz said. “So we knew we had to do something to get ahead of that.”
About 100,000 vehicles come through the Central Terminal Area daily. Uber and Lyft currently make up 27 percent of that total.
“We have spent the last year working with the transportation network companies — Uber, Lyft, Opoli — and the taxi industry, to design and build the lot that you see behind me,” Wilschetz said.
The people mover will be a 2.25-mile elevated train system which will have three stations inside the Central Terminal Area and another three outside of it, including a Metro station, linking public transit to LAX.