Some taxi pickups returning to LAX Central Terminal Area

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Taxi pickups are returning on a limited basis to the Central Terminal Area of Los Angeles International Airport, officials said Thursday.

Pickups by taxi, ridesharing services and shuttles had been moved out of the main terminal area and into a satellite lot last October in an effort to reduce traffic during a construction project.

The move met with controversy initially because it caused confusion among passengers and slowed up the process of exiting the airport. But airport officials say the new system "has been running smoothly for more than four months after some challenges in its first week of implementation."

Now the airport is launching a pilot program for 90 days to bring back taxi pickup in two central terminal locations:

-- Parking Structure 3: This pickup spot serves international travelers using the Tom Bradley terminal and Terminal 3.

-- Terminal 7/8: A taxi stand is being brought back to a previous location on the Lower/Arrivals level of the Central Terminal Area, past the last entrance to Terminal 7/8.

Travelers at the other terminals will continue to use the new LAX-it system implemented last year. That involves walking or taking a shuttle to a lot outside the Central Terminal Area that is designated specifically for pickups by taxis and ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft.

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

Taxi drivers had been angry about the change, saying it was hurting their business. They hailed Thursday's announced modification to the program.

"This step will certainly help restore the taxi industry to its rightful and historic place at LAX,'' said Bill Rouse, general manager of Yellow Cab.

During the 90-day pilot, airport officials will monitor the impacts on traffic congestion.

Airport officials say they launched the LAX-it system to reduce traffic during construction on the airport's Automated People Mover train and stations and redevelopment of all of the terminals. The construction has led to the closure of traffic lanes and internal roads in the Central Terminal Area.

LAX-it has decreased the number of vehicles in the CTA an average of 12-13% each day, airport officials say.

LAX says if the airport didn't take steps to reduce congestion, "traffic at LAX and backing up into surrounding communities would be worse on the average summer day than on the Sunday after Thanksgiving."

City News Service contributed to this report.
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