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What It's Like Trying to Take a Legal Lyft Home From LAX

Waiting for @lyft requests this morning at LAX

A photo posted by Daniel Gonzalez (@batwing_lyft) on


Right before Christmas, Lyft became the first ride-hailing app to get the go-ahead from airport officials to pick up passengers at LAX. (Uber's still working on it.) The pink-mustachioed company doesn't just have the run of the airport—drivers are supposed to wait in a specific lot until they are pinged by a rider's request. Travelers are advised to request a ride, then walk upstairs to the Departures level of the airport, where they'll find the designated Lyft pickup zone. But it turns out, there's a bit more to it than that, says BizJournals.

A writer for BizJournals tested out the new Lyft service at the airport on the Sunday after New Year's and hit a bump on the first step of the process: requesting a ride. "I didn't have great cellphone service down in baggage claim," she writes, and she's not alone.

Lyft also instructs riders to wait near the posted Ride Service signs; there are six pickup areas scattered between terminals, according to a map posted by Lyft. But BizJournals adds an important bit of information: Lyft drivers can actually get a ticket for picking a passenger up anywhere but in front of those signs.

Drivers aren't impervious to awful LAX traffic either, so app estimates for pickup times may be off. The Lyft driver in this case said it usually takes about three minutes for a car to swoop in from the waiting lot and get a passenger, but the app's estimate was six minutes, which turned out to be about 20 because of the holiday traffic.

The final small kink in getting a ride home from Lyft is figuring out which car is there for which passenger. Imagine the chaos of trying to get into the right car after a concert or other big event; now imagine everyone has suitcases. "There was a little confusion as to whose car was whose — I could see the area needing a little more organization if the service grows in popularity," writes the reporter. Still, none of these hiccups was enough for her to consider going back to taking a regulated, equitable taxi to or from LAX. "[Lyft will] be my preferred mode of transportation to and from the airport from here on out."
· I took Lyft from LAX — here's how it worked [BizJournals]
· Lyft Will Be Able to Pick Up Passengers at LAX for the Holidays [Curbed LA]
· Why Can't Uber and Lyft Make Pickups at LAX During the Holiday Travel Season? [Curbed LA]
· Los Angeles Has a Plan to Combine the Best of Uber and Taxis [Curbed LA]

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045