By the end of October, travelers leaving the Los Angeles International Airport through a ride-hailing service or a taxi will have to be picked up at a new designated lot.
Airport officials said the new pickup location, dubbed “LAX-it,” will open on Oct. 29 and is aimed at alleviating congestion in the central terminal area until the 2023 opening of a new train system that would directly connect passengers from terminals to L.A. Metro lines.
The ban on curbside service only affects people being picked up by Uber, Lyft, Opoli and taxi drivers. It does not include drop-offs nor apply to those being picked up by friends or family members.
LAX-it will be located east of Terminal 1, on the corner of World Way and Sky Way.
The public can get there either through an airport shuttle scheduled to pick up passengers from the lower/arrivals level every three to five minutes during peak hours, according to LAX. The ride will take 15 minutes at most, with a maximum of one stop, airport officials said. There will be staffers who could assist those who need help with their luggage.
Don’t want to take the shuttle? Passengers can also access the new lot on foot: It’s a three-minute, leisurely walk from Terminal 1 and an 8-minute walk from Terminals 2, 7 and 8, according to LAX.
Ride-hailing app users should open the app when they arrive at the airport and follow the instructions on when to request a ride and how to find their driver.
LAX-it will have restrooms, charging stations, Wi-Fi, benches and shaded areas, as well as food trucks, officials said. They expect the new system to ease vehicle traffic at the Central Terminal Area by 15%.
Some travelers at LAX on Friday expressed skepticism over the new airport policy.
“I think it’s a little extra, just because like, we’re already right here,” said Jacob Sepulveda, a ride-hailing app user.
Uber driver David Williams is more optimistic.
“In the beginning it’s going to be hard, but once everybody gets the feel for it, I think it’ll be OK,” he told KTLA.
Keith Wilschetz, the executive director of operations at LAX, said airport officials understand that some may be wary of the change but asked the public to give it a chance.
LAX is the fourth-busiest airport in the world and second only to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the U.S. The new pickup area is part of a $14.3 billion improvement project underway at the Southern California hub.