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Tinkering With New Ride-Hailing Area Produces Results at LAX

Few planning projects in recent weeks have attracted such scrutiny as the LAX-It ride-hailing pickup area at Los Angeles International Airport.
November 11, 2019, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Southern California Freeways
If more people took the FlyAway instead of Uber or Lyft to LAX, the new LAX-It would run smoothly and there'd be less traffic on the 105, the 405, and the 110.
Benjamin Clapp

After being greeted with cheers from urbanists before implementation and then jeered by ride-hailing company users after the project launched at the end of October, the LAX-It ride-hailing traffic management experiment seems to have found some equilibrium.

At the beginning of the month, planners with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) announced a plan to block the terminal area to ride-hailing drop-offs and pick-ups, sequestering ride-hailing operations to an off-site location. Transit boosters enthusiastically embraced the decision to also prioritize bus and shuttle traffic in the terminal area.

But the reality of the arrangement didn't go over well with ride-hailing app users. Even in the first, low-traffic days of the experiment, LAX-It users complained about long wait times and crowded conditions.

The most recent news reflects a shift toward more positive reviews, however. "At Los Angeles International Airport’s newly expanded pickup lot Wednesday [November 6], shuttles came and went smoothly, and travelers walked leisurely to their waiting cars," according to an article by Alejandra Reyes-Velarde and Laura J. Nelson.

Still, the adjustments made to accommodate more space for ride-hailing companies came at a cost to Park 'N Fly, "the company that offered self-parking, valet parking, electric car charging and car washes."

"Park ‘N Fly, which operates parking facilities at 14 U.S. airports, told customers in an email Wednesday that it was shutting down its LAX operation, remaining open only for customers who needed to retrieve a parked car," according to the article.

On November 7, LAWA put out a press release touting the success in reducing shuttle travel times and wait times at the LAX-It lot.

In case local travelers or out-of-town visitors are interested in alternatives to ride-hailing companies to and from the airport, Alissa Walker has written a thorough account of all the various options for getting to and from the airport with hailing a ride—which is one sure way to improve wait times at LAX-It.

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Published on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 in Los Angeles Times
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