Make sure to check out Fly&Dine’s Uber LAX Guide!
What a year it’s been for Uber in Los Angeles. The ride-sharing service introduced Uber Pool, Uber Eats (formerly Uber Fresh), and cut the costs of UberX down significantly. Now comes word that LAX airport officials have agreed to let ride-share services actually operate at the airport. It’s a big victory for anyone who wants cheap rides to and from the airport and a major blow to the taxi industry who showed up in force at the Board of Airport Commissioners meeting to protest the decision.
Never tried Uber? How does a free ride sound? To claim your free ride, click here and sign up now.
This isn’t a done deal yet, as several regulatory hurdles still exist, but according to the LA Times, “the expanded operations could begin as early as late August, subject to final approvals by airport officials and the city attorney.” Interestingly, a California state administrative court ruled just yesterday that Uber should be suspended and fined over $7 million. There’s no telling whether that could affect this new decision in LA but it’s a city vs. state issue, so unless the State of California actually follows through and shuts down Uber based on the California Public Utilities Commission ruling, you’ll most likely be able to start using Uber and Lyft for LAX pick-ups as soon as next month. No more hopping on a hotel shuttle, no more convincing Uber and Lyft drivers to pretend they’re your best friends to pick you up on the lower level.
So, assuming the LAX Board of Airport Commissioners recommendation gets passed through city hall, here’s what you can expect:
A $4 fee for using Uber and Lyft at the airport.
It’s the same fee you pay for grabbing a taxi. Neither Lyft nor Uber has announced if they will pass the fee on to riders or not, but considering that Uber makes you pay a nebulous $1 “Safe Rider” fee that does next to nothing, assume you’ll be paying the $4 airport fee, too. This will most likely apply to drop-offs and pick-ups, even though taxis don’t have to pay anything for drop-offs.
Pick-ups on the upper level.
While current regulations prohibit pick-ups upstairs on the Departures Level (except for the Tom Bradley International Terminal), the new licensing agreement would make that the only place for legal ride-share pick-ups.
Limited availability of drivers.
The new agreement sets up a situation for Uber/Lyft drivers that would be similar to how taxis are controlled at LAX. There’s a limited number of spots for drivers (40 for ride-share) and those drivers will have to wait in a holding pen of sorts until they get a ride request. Seems like a small amount of room for a large pool of drivers. Hopefully it won’t discourage drivers from hanging out in the area to refill the spaces when other drivers go out on fares.
All in all, this is excellent news. The Uber LAX prohibition is almost over, friends. Rejoice! REJOICE! If you haven’t taken Uber yet, click here for a free ride up to $20. With UberX, that’ll get you to most parts of LA for free.