LAX sees some wait-time improvements with rideshare lot expansion

Rachel Brown Image
Thursday, November 7, 2019
LAX sees some wait-time improvements with rideshare lot expansion
LAX expanded its rideshare pickup lot Wednesday after outrage from passengers over long wait times.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles International Airport expanded its LAX-it pickup lot for rideshare services Wednesday after passenger outrage over long wait times.

The changes seemed to bring some relief to travelers and drivers who had complained of long waits and confusion since the new system debuted last week.

The new pickup system was introduced in an effort to reduce congestion as the airport continues with construction projects.

The lot expansion was a pre-planned contingency if more space was needed, according to airport officials.

The changes include three new lanes specifically for Lyft pickups, as well as the original lanes in the lot being designated for Uber and taxi drivers.

"We're expanding the LAX-it lot by 50% and that will allow us to move Lyft's entire operation out of the existing LAX-it lot and put it in the new lot," said Michael Christensen with L.A. World Airports.

Currently, passengers have to walk or take a shuttle from the terminals to the rideshare lot to catch an Uber, Lyft or taxi. Customers complained of packed shuttles, gridlock and long wait times for rides.

MORE: LAX makes changes to new rideshare pick-up system in response to travelers' outrage

The changes received mostly positive reviews from travelers on Wednesday.

"It's a smooth transition, it was cool. Had to wait for my ride to pull up," Joshua Thompson said.

"It's way better for the pickup," said rideshare driver Karim Baki. "It's way better than before."

But at the same time, other problems beyond the airport's control were popping up. LAX officials said Wednesday afternoon that issues with the Lyft app were affecting service at the airport and around the country.

"We are hearing reports that Lyft is experiencing a nationwide software glitch that is affecting service in various locations, including LAX-it," the airport tweeted.

Other travelers and drivers were not seeing the improvements.

"I've had two cancellations, I've been here 45 minutes and each time they would leave in one minute and then it's canceled," Michael Breen said. "They had a great system before and I don't see what's going on now."

Dozens of taxi cab drivers crammed into an L.A. City Council committee meeting Tuesday to also express frustration.

"They moved us to new lot, they say they want to improve traffic, but this is not helping nobody," said taxi driver Yemale Gebrekirst.

The committee chair, Joe Buscaino, called out Uber and Lyft for not sending representatives to the meeting.

"I'm disgusted, frustrated and upset that if we're going to solve this problem together we need the ride-share companies at the table," Buscaino said.

Eyewitness News did reach out to Uber and Lyft and they say they have been in constant communication with LAX and they also say they look forward to the expansion of the rideshare lot.