Uber and Lyft’s Airport PIN Pickup System Explained

Finding a passenger at the airport can be very frustrating. Have you ever had the experience where you’re trying to find a passenger and you can’t find them, then the guy in the yellow vest tells you to move on?¬†Then you’ve got to go all the way around, and all the way around and come back and look for that passenger.

Both Uber and Lyft have come up with a PIN system to help smooth out the airport pickup process. And in this video I’m going to share with you what exactly that is, where they’re launching it and what it looks like down the road. And stick around, at the end of the video, I’m going to share with you why I prefer the rematch system over this new PIN system.

Video and video transcript are below!

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Airport Pickups Come With Challenges

Sometimes the airport pickups can be the most difficult because if you’re a driver, you may have waited up to an hour to come and make that pickup. So you’re stressed because you want to make sure you got a long ride going in the right direction. And the passengers can be a little stressed because they’ve been traveling, they’re hauling all this luggage around.

A lot of times they have to drive to a garage and then wait. . And sometimes just two people stressed out getting in the car together, that can be an experience. So let’s look at the new PIN system offered by both Uber and Lyft.

The Theory of the Airport PIN Systems

First, let’s talk about the theory of the PIN system. Right now, Lyft has a couple of ways to make it easier for you to make a pickup. First of all, they show you the picture of the passenger. If the passenger has provided a profile picture, you’ve got that. I tend to look for the hair, make sure the hair matches up, it’s the right color, right style.

And we’ve got the AMP right? The AMP is very helpful because it can show a specific color and then the passenger can look at the color and make sure the colors match. Uber doesn’t have the pictures but they do have the beacon. And the beacon is helpful because it will, again, allow the passenger to match the color.

The theory of the the PIN system is that the passengers will get a PIN that shows up on their screen. And then they can go into any car, give the driver the PIN number. The driver will then tap in the number and the contact information and the destination are preloaded, then you’re off and running.

It really sounds like a taxi line at the airport, where the cars are all lined up and the first person shows up, they get in the car and they go. Except in this case, they get in the car, give the PIN number and then they go.

Lyft’s Airport PIN Program

Lyft’s program is called First Match. And as you can see here, we got a couple of screenshots of what the actual screens look like. You can see that the passenger clicks on get code and then they’ve got the code. And then from there, they can go get into the first available car, give that code and boom, you’re off and running. Now the Lyft program is currently being tested in Portland, Oregon and in New York at the LaGuardia airport.

Uber’s PIN Program

Uber’s program is currently available only in Portland. So Portland has both Uber and Lyft using the system, LaGuardia in New York has just the Lyft. And as you can see in the screenshot here, it works very much the same way where the person would click on let’s go. Then they’ve got the the code, in this case, a six digit code, and then you can see the screen where the driver would tap in the number.

Here is some of the verbiage that Uber has used to explain it. It says, “Recognizing the potential to extend this innovation to airports. Last year, we adapted and tested it at Bangalore, India with successful results. This led us to where we are today, making PIN matching available to transportation, TNC, customers at US airports for the first time.”

They don’t really have a name for it, they just call it our PIN matching solution.

PIN Systems vs. Rematch: Which Wins?

I’m going to compare this to rematch, because in in the San Francisco airport, we have this great system called rematch where I could drive, drop off a passenger, and pick another one up from the curb.

If I was in terminal two, and then there was a passenger that wanted a car in terminal two, I would immediately get that ping, make that pickup in, 30 seconds and we would both be on our way. This saved the passenger from waiting 10 minutes for a car to come from a staging lot.

And me, I earned the right to get that ride because I was dropping off a passenger at the airport. Well in San Francisco, they completely changed all of that. And now all the pickups are done up on the garage and all the cars have to come from the staging lots, which are approximately 10 minutes away in either direction.

I don’t know if the PIN system is going to come to San Francisco or not, but it sounds to me like it’s not going to be any benefit to the drivers because the drivers are still going to have to line up and wait. And the passenger, it’s great for them. They can just get into the whatever car’s available and and take off. This is why I highly prefer the rematch system.

I used to drive to the airport and I was excited because I knew I could drop off a passenger and then maybe pick one up, which seemed to happen about 40% of the time. Now I just go drop somebody off and I head back to the mission district and that takes about 12 minutes. ‘m losing that 12 minutes, where in the past, I could have had a passenger going on a medium to a long trip. So bring back rematch. It made sense, it uses technology, and it saves time for both the passenger and the driver.

Only Time Will Tell How the PIN System Will Go

How will this PIN workout? Well they’re testing it and only time will tell. Only time will tell. They started this in May and June and July and they haven’t expanded it to any other markets. Key takeaways, Uber and Lyft have a new PIN system. They’re testing it out in a few markets. LaGuardia is where Lyft is is right now. And then the Portland market has both Uber and Lyft trying this PIN system.

I prefer the rematch system because that saves time for both the passenger and the driver. But at least the PIN makes it a little bit easier for the passenger.

Thanks for watching and reading! Be safe out there.





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