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NEWS Last modified on December 23, 2015

Lift off for shared ride company Lyft at Los Angeles International Airport

In a move that could potentially transform how passengers and staff travel by road from the world's airports, Los Angeles International Airport today started allowing travellers to use the ride-share company Lyft for pick-ups.

The pioneering move, which has been vehemently resisted elsewhere in the world by taxi drivers fearing that Lyft and Uber will take their business, was rubber stamped yesterday by the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti.

As a result, from 8am local time today, Lyft will begin pick-ups at LAX, making it the first tansportation network company (TNC) to be licensed for this service at LAX.

The gateway insists that the move will simply expand the transportation options for travellers who already enjoy access to taxis, shuttles, and the popular FlyAway service.

Speaking last night, Mayor Garcetti, said: “Tomorrow, we will have ‘Lyft-off’ at LAX, giving our passengers what they have been asking for, another safe and convenient way to get to and from the airport.

"As we continue rebuilding nearly every terminal at the airport, and work to bring rail to LAX, our passengers deserve access to all available options to ensure they have an excellent experience.”

According to airport operator, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), Mayor Garcetti has made improving amenities at LAX a priority, leading efforts to allow pick-ups by TNCs at the gateway.

Now allowed to pick up passengers on the upper Departure level of LAX, transportation network companies who successfully complete the application process will pay the airport $4 per trip, while following rules to reduce congestion in the central terminal area.

Deborah Ale Flint, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, enthused: "LAX passengers can now make use of the same transportation options at the airport that they already have throughout Los Angeles. 

"The license agreement governing Transportation Network Companies was designed to benefit travellers, help decrease traffic congestion at the airport, promote fair competition among transportation companies in both regulations and fees, and generate revenue from commercial users of airport property that can be invested to further improve the guest experience at LAX.”

Today's events culminate a thorough policy development process during which LAWA staff held several public comment periods and considered input from dozens of stakeholders, including passengers, neighbourhood groups, transportation network companies, taxicab companies, limo companies, disability advocates, and environmental advocates. 

"Innovative app-based transit options like Lyft have fundamentally altered the way Angelenos experience our city,” said Bob Blumenfield, the chair of the Los Angeles City Council’s Innovation, Grants, Technology, Commerce and Trade Committee, which oversees the airport.

“I was proud to work with Mayor Eric Garcetti to bring TNCs to LAX in a way that is convenient, regulated, and above all, safe, to ensure Los Angeles residents and visitors access and continue our push to make Los Angeles the most forward thinking big city in America."

LAX art
TNC's that successfully apply for and obtain a license from LAWA will now be permitted to both pick up and drop off at LAX, giving passengers the power to choose their preferred transportation option.

"I am stoked that we are leading the way in passenger convenience by allowing Lyft to operate at LAX," said Mike Bonin, who represents LAX and nearby neighbourhoods.  

"Lyft will broaden the range of choices for passengers, making it easier to go to and from the airport. 

"The agreement negotiated by the Board of Airport Commissioners protects nearby neighbourhoods with technology that prevents drivers from parking on their streets while they wait for calls. This is a 'win-win' for passengers and neighborhoods that we should all celebrate."

Other TNCs are currently in various stages of LAWA's application process to obtain a license agreement. 

Lyft's senior director of business operations, Bakari Brock, noted: "We’re excited that Los Angeles visitors and residents will be able to get a Lyft ride to and from LAX, just in time for the holiday season.

"This is a big step forward for consumers, and we want to thank the Los Angeles World Airports Board of Airport Commissioners and Mayor Garcetti for their work to bring modern transportation options like Lyft to the airport."

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