Mayor Eric Garcetti promised in his State of the City speech in April that, by the summer, unofficial taxi companies like Uber and Lyft would be allowed to pick up passengers at the airport (they're technically not allowed to, but often do anyway, of course). Now, today, the Board of Airport Commissioners has given the ride-hailing services the go-ahead to do just that, says the LA Times, and that means that drivers for the companies could be picking up passengers at the airport as soon as the end of August.
The airport was one of the last places in LA where official, regulated taxis had the upper hand on ride-hailing services, which can charge less because they don't have to follow the same rules. Now that Uber and Lyft are poised to be allowed in to pick up and drop off (airport officials and the city attorney still have to give final approvals), it seems like taxis are going to be fighting for business here too. The city is, however, working on an app for official taxis that should have them operating more like Lyft or Uber.
The new kids on the block will have to follow a lot of taxi-like protocol, though. Like taxis, Uber and Lyft drivers will have to wait in a "holding area" for a ride request and there would be a 40-car cap on the lot. Taxis have their own lot, though they regulate the number of cabs that can service the airport using a different, more complex system. Just like cabs, Uber and Lyft cars will have to pay $4 when they pick up at LAX; unlike taxis, they'd also have to pay a $4 fee when they drop off.
It's not clear how this relatively good news for the ride-hailing apps will play out in light of Uber's bad news yesterday, when a judge ruled that the company's license to operate in California should be suspended and the company should be forced to pay a $7.3-million fine for their refusal to comply with state laws. (Uber promised to appeal the decision, so their suspension is on hold for now.)
· LAX becomes largest U.S. airport to allow Uber, Lyft pickups [LAT]
· The 5 Biggest-Deal Plans From the LA State of the City Address [Curbed LA]
· Los Angeles Taxis Will Have a Mandatory App Starting in August [Curbed LA]