LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Officials at the Los Angeles International Airport say a plan to temporarily halt curbside pickup by rideshares and taxis will alleviate congestion at the central terminal area, but representatives from Uber said the plan will inconvenience riders and increase wait times.
“I think it is a little bit annoying,” Jaime Gil, a rideshare passenger, said. “It’s not practical for people who are going to fly.”
This argument was echoed in a letter to airport officials from Uber obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
“With limited curb capacity and peak demand nearing 1,500 trips/hour in 2019 — which is likely to grow as passenger traffic at the airport increases — we expect the result to be lengthy wait times for customers.”
The dispute comes after the airport announced earlier this month that it would be ending curbside pickup for travelers who use rideshare companies or taxis to leave the airport until the people mover is completed in 2023.
“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,” Keith Wilschetz, deputy executive director of operations and emergency management for LAX, said in a news conference announcing the change. “This is only for pickups for the ride app or the taxis.”
The change goes into effect Oct. 29 with a designated parking lot located to Terminal 1 where passengers can order their Ubers, Lyfts or taxis to leave the airport, but to get there they would have to walk about three minutes or take a free shuttle.
“I would prefer not doing that,” Pia Portman, a rideshare passenger, said.
The new system, called LAX-IT, is supposed to alleviate traffic jams at the central terminal and get passengers out of the airport faster, but the plan has many skeptics.
“It will probably prove to be quite interesting,” Larry Wascovich, an Uber and Lyft driver, said. “We’ll just have to see how it goes.”
LAX responded to Uber’s concerns in a statement that read in part:
“We have requested that Uber share with us any detailed data that differs from our modeling results and substantiates the concerns in their letter, but they have not provided this data to us to date.”
Lyft said in a statement that it was continuing to work closely with the airport to provide the “best possible” experience for its users.