LAX is leading the charge against Uber and Lyft


Traffic is always bad at airports. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I tweeted about a #travelhack of meeting your ride at the departures level rather than the arrivals level. Well, now we find out that LAX is leading the charge against Uber and Lyft, and it is not for your benefit!

LAX is Leading the charge against Uber and Lyft – Why?

Skift’s Brian Summers writes that:

Los Angeles International Airport soon will bar rideshare and taxi drivers from picking up passengers outside its terminals, forcing travelers to ride shuttle buses to a nearby parking lot where they will be matched with a car.

– Skift – LAX Leads Airport Stand Against Uber and Lyft Congestion
Summers notes that:

Rideshare cars account for roughly 27 percent of all commercial traffic at the airport
Rideshare accounts for more and more traffic at US Airports

With rideshare options increasing in availability, its not surprising that Rideshare is accounting for increasing traffic at US Airports. With LAX rideshare accounting for 27%, Summers notes that other airports are moving rideshare pick-ups further and and further away from the terminals. While I agree – rideshare is adding to more traffic, the fact is – more and more people want to have a simple, easy to find ride to their ultimate destination. Earlier this year, I flew down to Atlanta for an event; it took me a half hour to find where the rideshare lot was, which detracted from my general experience of flying into Atlanta. Would I do it again? Not unless the event was a “can’t miss.”

Convenience is king, regardless of the provider!

What I think airports are missing, is that people travel to a particular city, not an airport. Further, people travel to a particular city for a reason. Yes, there is a subset of us that travel to see the airport, or for mileage running purposes. But the majority of people fly to destinations specifically for some event or reason at the destination.

Using that logic, it is reasonable for passengers to expect a seamless experience. More and more travelers see the value of rideshare over renting a vehicle. I know personally, if I am doing a very focused trip, I’d rather just Uber or Lyft to where I need to go and back, rather than dealing with a rental car, having to refill the tank, and ride a bus back and forth to the terminal.

With LAX’s movement to push rideshare out further from the airport, requiring a bus ride, it devalues the overall passenger experience. If I’m flying into LAX, I want to be in a vehicle and on my way as close to the point I hit landside as possible. If I have to get on a bus for a rideshare, I’m not going to rideshare, if its even remotely close to the cost of a rental. If a taxi is an option without a shuttle bus, I’m probably taking that taxi.

And before you flame me for being negative on this central location for rideshare, lets take a moment and consider central rental car facilities. The Las Vegas airport is one of the inner circles of hell (according to Dante’s Inferno) – just to get to the rental facility, you walk a half mile (mas o menos), wait in a 10+ minute line to hop onto a bus, for a 5-10 minute ride. By that point, its an easy walk–if you’re an elite–for your rental car. At the end of the day though, you’ve just committed 30+ minutes of your life to have a rental car, and lets not forget the additional 20-30 minutes to get back.

Wrapping Up

My final thoughts on the fact that LAX is leading the charge against Uber and Lyft, is that LAX is reminding us once again, that they do not value Origin and Departing(O&D) traffic. With so many other options in Southern California, this move tells me I should be looking for others airports, if I actually want to leave the airport. Is increased volume a problem? Definitely. But pushing Rideshare users to have to ride a shuttle is a non-starter and, quite honestly is combative to rideshare services. Regardless of how you feel about rideshare services, this move is negative, not just to rideshare providers, but more importantly to passengers. The real question I am thinking is: is this because volume is so far up, or because they’re trying to protect another service provider?

What are your thoughts? Will this change make you reconsider flying into/out of LAX from an origin/destination/layover perspective? Does this change your opinion at all?

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