LAX travelers will soon have to take a shuttle to taxi or Uber

The plan, which will end curbside pickup by ride-sharing services, has been public since May, but few people noticed until Thursday.
Image: Los Angeles International Airport
A plane comes in for a landing at Los Angeles International Airport in November 2013.AFP/Getty Images

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By Alex Johnson

LOS ANGELES — Passengers accustomed to hailing a cab or popping into an Uber or a Lyft at the curb at Los Angeles International Airport will have to pack into shuttle buses to meet their rides later this month, according to airport documents.

Road traffic, always bad at LAX, the nation's second-busiest airport for total passenger boardings, has been choked by rising business and major construction.

In response, beginning Oct. 29, the airport will no longer allow taxis and ride-sharing services to pick up arriving passengers at the curb on the airport's upper level, according to an airport advisory. Instead, shuttles will ferry arriving passengers to a designated pickup lot east of Terminal 1.

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The new rules won't affect taxis or ride-sharing services dropping off departing fliers, according to the advisory.

The plan was first revealed in May during a meeting of the Greater California Livery Association, the trade journal Luxury Coach & Transportation reported at the time. It drew little public attention, however, until the business transportation journal Skift reported it on Thursday, setting off a mini-revolt on social media.

The Los Angeles Times quoted an airport spokesman on Thursday as saying the shuttle trips should take about 15 minutes.

LAX isn't the first major U.S. airport to enact such a program.

In April, Boston Logan International Airport approved a plan to centralize ride-sharing pickups and dropoffs alike at the airport's central garage, also taking effect this month.

And in June, San Francisco International Airport moved ride-sharing pickups to the roof of an hourly parking garage that passengers have to walk to through a skybridge.

Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX, reported $44.3 million in revenue last year from ride-sharing services, whose fares are bumped up by $4 for all pickups and dropoffs. It wasn't immediately clear whether those surcharges will be affected.