It’s been a week since Los Angeles International Airport instituted its new passenger pickup policy, resulting in the latest Carmageddon. But now they’re supposedly going to “fix” the situation. The solution went into effect yesterday and it doesn’t sound all that promising, but then again, how much worse could they really make things? Oh, and Uber is making some changes as well in response to complaints from riders about vastly increased wait times. (San Francisco Gate)
Just a week after Los Angeles International Airport moved all taxi and ride-share pick-ups away from the terminals to a new LAX-it lot, officials are making a number of changes designed to untangle the chaos, traffic back-ups and inflated fares that have resulted. And Uber said it is adopting a new procedure to at the airport to put travelers into cars more efficiently…
Effective Wednesday morning (November 6), LAX officials said, they will expand the size of the LAX-it pick-up lot by almost 50 percent, creating more space for both cars and riders. That should reduce gridlock, allowing more drivers to get into the lot and cutting the waiting time for riders. (Sounds very similar to the SFO ridesharing mess when airport officials added another entry lane to the dedicated lot.)
Increasing the size of the LAXit lot (which really needs a better name) by 50% may reduce some of the vehicular congestion trying to get in, but it doesn’t address the issue of the long lines waiting for a shuttle to get there. And this proposed solution still doesn’t answer the underlying math problem they’re dealing with. LAX has eight terminals, but they have one LAXit lot. Previously, all of the incoming taxis, Uber and Lyft drivers were spread out across eight locations. Now every one of them is forced to head for the same lot. And they’re all using the same access road. Is this really that hard for the airport’s administrators to grasp?
Meanwhile, Uber is trying to make things a bit better. Rather than being paired up with a specific driver at the airport as is usually done, riders in that zone will receive a six-digit PIN code. That will allow them to hook up with the nearest available driver. Of course, this solution presents problems of its own, as riders are used to being able to confirm who their driver is and what make of car they will be looking for in advance.
An alternate, unofficial solution has reportedly been making the rounds. Passengers have been exiting the terminal and hopping on any of the free hotel shuttles that depart regularly. Then, upon arrival at the hotel, they simply summon their Uber from there. But it’s very likely that as soon as the hotels detect a significant uptick in people riding their shuttles and not checking in at the hotel, they’ll start demanding a reservation number before allowing them to ride.
None of this sounds very promising, and long lines at the curb are apparently going to be the new normal. So this is the net result of LAX’s “improvement” plan that was originally just put in place to cause trouble for Uber and Lyft. Simply brilliant.