Travelers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) faced packed shuttle buses and long wait times using the new Uber, Lyft, and taxi pickup system, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
For most travelers, wait times for Uber and Lyft rides exceeded an hour. On Tuesday night, LAX officials apologized to travelers for an “unacceptable level of service,” says the report.
Under this new system, travelers board a shuttle or walk to the new pickup area (LAX-it lot) – east of Terminal 1 – to get a taxi or to find their Uber or Lyft driver. Airport officials banned Uber, Lyft, and taxi curbside pickups to try to mitigate airport congestion, especially with construction beginning on several projects at the airport.
“Construction of the Automated People Mover train and stations is beginning in the Central Terminal Area, and LAX-it is needed to relieve the pressure of construction impacts that would make traffic unbearable if nothing were done,” said Keith Wilschetz, deputy executive director for operations and emergency management at the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).
The congestion was caused by several issues, including large numbers of travelers and Uber and Lyft drivers who were confused by the new pickup system, according to the LA Times report. Uber and Lyft also had problems with matching riders with drivers.
As of Wednesday, the airport started making changes to signage, road striping, traffic patterns, and adding more traffic officers, according to a press release by LAWA.
Other changes that will occur during this first week of operation, include adding and redeploying staff to assist with LAX-it guests at the curb and at the LAX-it lot, adding video messages to the shuttles to inform guests about how to use LAX-it, and sending the Airport Response Team to provide more staff at certain locations to help travelers.