LAX board votes to allow Uber, Lyft passenger pickups

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dozens of taxi cab drivers jammed into a boardroom Thursday, hoping to convince the Los Angeles Airport Commission that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft should not be allowed to pick up passengers from LAX.

The public comment period lasted for more than an hour, with most of the 50 plus speakers critical of a proposal that would allow ride-hailing pickups.

In the end, the airport commission voted unanimously to allow ride-hailing companies to apply for permits that would make it possible for them to pick up customers at LAX.

Currently, ride-hailing companies are allowed to drop passengers off at LAX for a $4 fee. Under the new plan, they would also be charged $4 to pick someone up.

"The customers want them, they're adding to the economy, they're creating jobs," said Ruben Gonzalez, a senior vice president at the L.A. Chamber of Commerce.

But cab companies say ride-hailing companies are able to undercut their competition because they aren't held to the same standards as traditional taxi companies, which must follow stricter regulations.

"There was no effort whatsoever to level the playing field in spite of what all the policymakers were saying," said William Rouse, the general manager of Long Beach Yellow Cab Cooperative Inc.

Pickups could begin as early as August, but the L.A. City Council could choose to override the board's decision.

If ultimately approved, LAX would be the largest airport in the country to allow the ride-hailing operations.
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