LAX’s new system for Uber, Lyft and taxi pickups is plagued with long waits

Los Angeles International Airport debuted its new system for Uber, Lyft and taxi pickups last week. Then: chaos.

Traffic bottlenecks have caused long wait times and deep frustration for both drivers and passengers at the new “LAXit” pickup lot, where the ride-hailing and taxi services are allowed to accept riders.

On Sunday night it took more than an hour for taxis to drive to the pickup lot from a nearby place where the taxis were required to wait, said Simon Momennasab, general manager for Bell Cab. Earlier in the day that drive took 15 to 20 minutes — and walking would have taken about five, he said.

The Sahota Family, center, visiting Universal Studios from Sacramento, join travelers waiting at the new LAX pickup lot.
(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

Uber and Lyft drivers seemed to have similar difficulties getting into the pickup lot. And there were reports of ride prices leaping.

Passengers, meanwhile, rode shuttles from their terminals to the lot and then waited in lines that could last more than an hour. Some gave up on rides they had hailed, choosing instead to leave the lot, walk to less congested areas and request a new Uber or Lyft ride from there.

Uber said in a statement that it is “working with LAX to resolve some of the early issues for riders who saw increased wait times during the first Sunday” of the new system. LAX and Lyft did not have immediate responses to requests for comment. On Tuesday, the first day of the system, LAX apologized for the problems.

“It’s been awful, to be honest with you,” Bell Cab’s Momennasab said Monday. The lot is “too small for taxis and rideshares. And they have to find ways to improve the entrance and exit.”


Passengers can walk or take a shuttle to the new passenger pickup lot to connect with Uber, Lyft and taxis at LAX.
(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

Times staffers Rachel Schnalzer, Seth Liss and Mark Potts contributed to this report.

Get our weekly Business newsletter

A look back, and ahead, at the latest California business news.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.