Los Angeles International Airport is limiting pickups, and Johnny Jet has the rundown.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has taken recent steps to ban curbside pickup for taxis and Uber and Lyft rideshare drivers. To reduce traffic congestion in the airport’s Central Terminal Area, taxis and rideshares will need to use the nearby LAX-it pickup area. As a rider, you will need to either walk or take a shuttle to find your ride.
This change comes as LAX begins a four-year construction project for its Automated People Mover train. Construction will result in less curb space and increase traffic congestion on the arrivals level.
However, it’s still possible to enjoy curbside pickup at LAX even after LAX-it opens. Here’s what you can expect when you travel through the second-busiest airport in the United States.
New LAX rideshare and taxi pickup rules
If LAX is your home airport, you know that vehicle congestion can be stressful at peak travel times in Los Angeles. Many LAX regulars will tell you that traffic inside the horseshoe is already over-capacity.
The current taxi and rideshare app policy changes only affect pickups. Taxis and rideshares can still drop you off at your terminal on the departures level.
These changes attempt to reduce traffic jams so you can get home or hotel in Los Angeles sooner. But having to go to a different staging area can be an extra hassle for passengers.
The typical rideshare or taxi rider currently waits 20 minutes for their driver to arrive curbside. With LAX-it, the driver no longer has to fight airport traffic to find you. Unfortunately, the rider (you) must make the extra effort to reach the LAX-it area to find their taxi or rideshare.
This location move primarily benefits drivers but doesn’t necessarily help riders.
What is LAX-it?
You will find restrooms, food trucks, and charging stations at LAX-it. There will also be some seating areas and protection from the rain. However, LAX-it may not be as convenient as a curbside pickup for a few reasons.
LAX-it is located outside Terminal 1 at the corner of SkyWay and World Way. It opens October 29, 2019, and will remain open until the Automated People Mover train begins operating. The current estimated completion date is 2023.
For the next four years, people who usually use taxis or rideshare will need to walk or ride the shuttle to LAX-it before finding their driver. From the nearest terminal (Terminal 1) it takes 3 minutes to reach LAX-it. From the most distant terminals like Terminal 4 or the Tom Bradley International Terminal, it can take 20 minutes to reach LAX-it.
Passengers who currently meet their taxi, Uber, Lyft, or Opoli ride outside the baggage will now go to LAX-it. This pickup area is within walking distance of the LAX terminals. You can also take a dedicated shuttle that runs every 3-5 minutes.
Getting to LAX-it
The LAX-it pickup area is reachable by foot or shuttle bus. How long it can take depends on which terminal you arrive in and whether you walk or take the shuttle.
Estimated walking times are between three and 19 minutes if you walk at two miles per hour (approx. three kilometers per hour). Riding the transit bus takes up to 15 minutes after an estimated five-minute wait for the bus to arrive.
Walking to LAX-it
Terminal 1 is the closest terminal to LAX-it. It has an approximate three-minute walking distance. The longest walking times are 19 minutes from Terminal 4 and Terminal 5. For example, most American Airlines flights land in Terminal 4. It can take 19 minutes to walk or approximately the same amount of time to ride the shuttle to LAX-it.
If you need the exercise and have the time, you may not mind these long walks, but for most passengers, walking is only the best option if you arrive at Terminal 1, 3, 7, or 8.
The shuttles are a better option if you need an ADA-friendly transit option, have a lot of luggage, or arrive in a distant terminal. A free dedicated shuttle service runs every few minutes outside the baggage claim. These shuttles will have unique LAX-it markings so you know which shuttle to take.
Each shuttle makes a maximum of two stops before driving to the LAX-it area. After you board, it will make one more stop at most. It usually takes up to 15 minutes to get from your arrival terminal to the LAX-it area using the shuttle service.
The LAX-it shuttles will have their own exclusive lane to avoid non-shuttle traffic delays. All of the shuttles are ADA-compliant so you can easily load and unload your luggage and accessories.
Once you arrive at LAX-it, you will then find your taxi or rideshare driver. Use one of the best travel credit cards to pay for your rideshare as they often earn points/miles for travel-related purchases. Some even offer extra bonuses for using Uber or Lyft.
Get curbside pickup at LAX
It’s still possible to get curbside pickup at LAX. Even though the airport projects a 30% loss of inner-lane curb space at peak construction, friends, family, and shuttles can still make curbside pickups.
For example, you will still go outside your terminal baggage claim area if you need a hotel or rental car shuttle. A friend or family member can continue picking you up curbside.
Another way to still enjoy curbside pickup is by using a personal chauffeur service like Blacklane. The current rules that affect Uber, Lyft, and Opolis don’t affect livery drivers. This service is already a convenience as you try to navigate one of the world’s busiest airports.
If it’s difficult to get from your arrival gate to curbside, having to get to LAX-it can only add more stress to leaving the airport.
Instead, your chauffeur can meet you and your travel companions inside the airport. Simply look for your personalized pickup sign and your chauffeur will help you with your checked bags. You and your travel party can then travel in a luxury sedan or van to your final destination.
Reduce time spent waiting
Another advantage of using a livery service is that you don’t have to wait for your chauffeur to arrive. Instead, they track your incoming flight and wait for you.
With LAX-it, you must hail your rideshare driver when you leave the baggage claim area. That can be an extra 20 minutes before getting to LAX-it and finding your driver. With personal curbside pickup, you avoid the transit and wait delays that come with a standard taxi or rideshare app.
Blacklane also offers one free hour of wait time for airport pickups. If you are delayed passing through customs, you don’t have to worry about your chauffeur canceling.
Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred earn 2x points per $1 spent on travel and dining. Using a card that earns more for your Blacklane or rideshare service means you’ll still earn points or miles for your purchase.
The current drop-off rules are not changing. Taxis, rideshares, chauffeurs, and personal vehicles can drop you off curbside at your outbound terminal. All drop-offs still happen on the upper departures level.
If you’re flying into LAX and plan on leaving the airport in a taxi or rideshare, you will need to either walk or take an airport shuttle to the new LAX-it staging area. While you can make it there in 20 minutes from the most distant terminals, it’s an extra hassle.
Take advantage of Blacklane’s Los Angeles chauffeur services and avoid having to line up and wait for a ride, especially if you’re coming off a long, international flight. There are still ways to get a curbside pickup. A luxury chauffeur can be one of the most hassle-free and least stressful ways.