How Will the LAX Ban on Curbside Pickups Affect Drivers & Passengers?

Big changes are coming to rideshare at LAX, and it’s going to create a new pickup experience for both drivers and passengers. We’ve discussed the LAX changes in this post at The Rideshare Guy, and it’s always good to get more than one perspective on a new issue.

Mark from UberHints on YouTube recorded a good video covering the changes, and how they might affect all of us. Take a look at his video, and scroll to the video transcript if you prefer to read.

A lot of people are wondering what’s going to happen now that they’ve banned curbside pickup for Uber and Lyft at Los Angeles International Airport. Is that going to spread throughout the country? Let’s talk about it.

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Quite frankly, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I’m getting my information here from the Los Angeles Times and here’s what’s going on.

The new changes to pickups at LAX

Starting at the end of October, travelers leaving LAX will be required to board a shuttle or walk to a waiting area east of Terminal One to hail an Uber, Lyft, or taxi. Drop off policies and pickups for friends and family will not change. All that means is that they’re not going to be able to pick up right outside of baggage claim by the area where they’ve normally been doing it up to this point.

Rideshare and taxi pickups going to have a special area. Now it’s different from a staging area, although not that different because it’s an area where people are going to go hail the Uber, hail that Lyft, hail the cab, and that’s where you’re going to pick them up instead of curbside. It really isn’t that big a stink. I don’t think it’s going to affect drivers one iota.

Now in the LAX article, they go on to say that this plan will remain in place until the completion of an elevated airport train scheduled for 2023, so we’re looking at four years. The people-mover will arrive every two minutes and will whisk passengers between the terminals, a car rental facility, a ground transportation hub and a Metro station. They have those all over the country. I don’t know I’ve ever seen one, however, that leaves the baggage claim area. This is what’s going to be different. I haven’t seen the plans, but I have to believe if I’m getting an Uber, if I’m getting Lyft, a taxi, I’m going to have to get it from the baggage claim.

My own airport experiences

As you know, I am a frequent traveler. Let’s talk about my experience. We’re going to talk about some experiences of people that were interviewed by the Times. When I get a bag, I like to be able to have an Uber, a Lyft, my transportation, my shuttle, whatever it might be, right outside the transportation area. Right now, it’s not happening anyway in a lot of places. Recently I was at was LaGuardia. I had to walk a goodly distance with my bags in order to get to the Uber and Lyft area. It’s not really that big of a deal.

Is it convenient? No, it’s not convenient. I hate it. But you know what? A lot of airports, it’s the exact same thing when you rent a car. Now, some car rental places are right there in baggage claim. I love it. Others, you might have to walk a little bit. I’m thinking Memphis, you walk outside under a covered kind of walkway, and you walk up pretty good way to get your rental car. You’re dragging all your bags. That’s the hardest part about it is if you have a lot of cumbersome luggage, you’re carrying it a long way.

The LAX changes are to cut down on congestion

Now it says here that it’s going to be a 15 minute walk. Those of you who serve the LAX area may know exactly what they’re talking about. It goes on to talk about this train, the shuttle. The whole overhaul is part of this package with a sleek train, and part of it is to prepare for the 2028 Summer Olympics. It isn’t just thinking about Uber and Lyft. They want to try to cut down on that congestion, and they have a major international event, and they want to be all spit polished by the time that happens.

Here now is a quote from one Christine Nichols, who is a whole 23 years old. “It will be a lot less convenient, and it’ll probably take longer to get home.” Well, duh. Is that the best quote that the Times could find? Of course. It doesn’t take a tree full of owls to figure that one out. You’re now either going to have to board a shuttle, which you will wait for, or you have to walk 15 minutes before you can order your Uber and Lyft. I don’t like it. I don’t like having the board shuttles. But you know what? If it aids in the congestion, maybe I’m waiting that time anyway for my car to get there.

LAX drivers: This may be better for you, or the same

LAX drivers, you tell me. How long does it take you from the time you are pinged until you are at the baggage claim area where your rider is? It must take some time. I know when I was at LaGuardia, it took some time. I waited for my driver. I actually pinged him before I started walking, when I was still at the terminal. There is a little bit of a game there that we play. Now I suspect I’m not going to be able to request a driver until I get to that staging area.

Are drivers going to be able to get to the staging area in shorter time than it takes him to get to the curb side area now? If it takes him a shorter time, maybe it’s going to be a zero sum gain and a zero sum loss. It’s just going to mean passengers, like me, are going to be inconvenienced.

Now, Ms. Nichols says starting next month, she’ll try to get picked up by family or book a super shuttle instead. I don’t know. If your family is willing to pick you up, why aren’t you doing that in the first place? The whole idea is to not put other people out. Booking the super shuttle, booking an Uber, Lyft, you’re getting on a shuttle anyway. You’re just having that extra little step in between.

This won’t be a big difference for drivers

The bottom line is, for drivers, I don’t think it’s really going to make a lick of difference. Think about it. You’re still getting a ping. You’re still going to pick somebody up at the airport. You’re just picking them up at a different place. It’s not going to affect you at all. It’s mostly affecting the people that have to get to you.

Now, at first, some people may grumble, some people may complain, some people like me are going to say, “Oh, I liked it better the old way.” But you know what? You’ll get over it. If they have to get from point A to point B, they’ll do it.

This Christine Nichols, she’s talking about arriving home. A lot of other people are going to other locations, or going to hotels, or going to business meetings. They have to get there somehow. They’re not all going to book a super shuttle. They’re still going to book Uber, Lyft, and/or a taxi. They’re just going to do it from a different location.

This will not turn everything upside-down!

Everybody that’s saying, “Oh, what do you think about this? My goodness gracious. It’s going to turn everything upside down.” I don’t think so. I think that when I get to an airport, I never know where my pickup is. It’s always something new.

Even airports I’ve been to before, I forget, because you go to a dozen different airports, 20 different airports. By the time you come back to one you haven’t been to in a year or six months, you kind of forget where the Uber, Lyft is. You look around, you read the app, it says here’s where they’re going to pick you up. You read signs. You stumble around a little bit. Eventually you get there. If there’s a sign that says, “Here is the shuttle that takes you to your pickup area,” hallelujah. Pretty simple.

As I said, I don’t think it’s a big deal. If it comes to other airports, well, some airports are better equipped than others. Some airports already have prescribed pick up areas. I talked about LaGuardia, which is undergoing major changes. I suspect that Uber and Lyft pickup areas are going to change multiple times before they land on a final solution. We’re figuring it out. As far as LAX, I don’t think it’s a bad solution at all, but you may disagree.

As always, leave your comments down below. Agree or disagree, I’d like you to give me the thumbs up if you find the video interesting. If you’re not already subscribed, click my face down there in their corner to subscribe, and click that bell icon up above. Thanks for watching everybody. I’m Mark from Uber Hints.

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