Rely on Uber and Lyft when you land in a new destination? You might want to reconsider, as many airports are ending curbside pickup for rideshare apps admidst construction and traffic woes.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is one example starting October 29; if you want to catch a taxi, Uber, Lyft, or other ride-hailing service, you’ll no longer be able to catch your ride on the arrivals level roadway of any individual terminal. Instead, in order to be matched with a rideshare car you’ll you have to take a 15-minute shuttle ride (shorter to/from terminals 1 and 7; longer from terminals 4, 5, and the international terminal) to a singular pick-up area dedicated to app-based rides.
For now, taxi, Uber, or Lyft can still drop you off at each terminal. The central idea is to reduce the congestion on the lower (arrivals) roadway that circles the terminals—a roadway that is, in fact, often a traffic nightmare for busy LAX. And other airports are making similar moves:
Airports Pulling Curbside Pickups for Uber and Lyft
- Austin moved the pickup area for taxis and ride-hailing services to the ground level of the rental car facility.
- Boston will move both pickup and drop-off for ride-hailing services to a designated area in the central parking facility.
- San Francisco has set up a special section of the central parking garage for ride-hailing services.
- Seattle set up a designated area in the airport parking garage for ride-hailing services.
This kind of solution is a temporary fix to traffic problems. At LAX, it’s until the pending 2022 completion of an automated LAX transit system that will connect terminals with an new ground transportation center. That center will combine rental car operations, taxi, ride-hailing, and the new light rail line.
And you can expect similar moves from still more airports as terminal congestion worsens and use of ride-hailing increases while many hubs are simultaneously working on updating airport facilities. The airport-help pages one Uber and Lyft’s websites are the places to go for the most current information about exactly how to arrange pickups and drop-offs in a given hub. If you’re planning to use a ride-hailing service for airport pickup, be sure to check there for the latest information.
More from SmarterTravel:
- The Best Uber Alternatives Around the World
- How to Use Uber and Lyft When You Travel
- Heading to an Airport? Use This Pre-Flight Checklist
Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuses every day at SmarterTravel.