LAX’s New Pick-Up Policy Got Off to a Turbulent Start

Travelers reported chaos and staggering wait times after rideshares and taxis were banned from curbside pickups

In theory, LAX’s new rideshare and taxi pick-up policy was meant to ease traffic and simplify the process of getting out of the airport. But when it actually went into practice yesterday, things went sideways fast.

Tuesday is considered a lighter day at LAX yet, even so, nearly as soon as travelers began arriving at the terminals, social media began to light up with complaints. Some were caught by surprise that they could no longer summon a car to pick them up curbside.

Others reported long waits to board shuttles, watching multiple packed buses come and go before being able to secure a spot, and even being removed from buses for trying to stand during the ride when no seats remained. Upon arriving at the LAX-it Lot, where all rideshare and taxi pickups now take place, passengers encountered disorganization and waits for cars that, some said, reached over an hour.

LAX officials acknowledged that the roll out didn’t quite go as they had hoped.

“The goal is to have customers into cars in minutes. That didn’t happen today,” said Keith Wilschetz, deputy executive director of operations and emergency management for LAX. He acknowledged that teams at the airport “have some work to do.”

“We knew we would have to refine some things, but we know the refinements we have to make,” he said. Among those “refinements” was updating certain signage along the car and pedestrian paths to the LAX-it Lot, and improving overall traffic flow.

Rideshare operators think the problems go deeper than a couple of signs. In an open letter to LAX airport operations, Uber expressed a variety of concerns, including an increase in congestion on the street that drivers use to access their staging area, and that Uber was allotted only 37 stalls for pickup, when, the company estimates, it previously averaged 500 to 1,000 pickups per hour at LAX.

While the initial shock of the new system may wear off over time, it could be a long journey to true logistical paradise. Hopefully, it’ll sort itself out before 2023, when the whole operation is set to be overhauled yet again.

RELATED: As LAX’s Curbside Rideshare Pick-Up Ban Goes Into Effect, Here’s What You Need to Know

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