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Uber, Lyft riders pleasantly surprised after week of chaos at LAX

Tracey Marx Bernstein
Senior Producer

Travelers passing through Los Angeles International Airport, the second busiest airport in the United States, have routinely expressed outrage over long wait times for ride-hailing services like Lyft (LYFT) and Uber (Uber). 

To deal with these long waits, LAX revamped the system and it launched just before Halloween — but, according to local news reports, the overhaul led to confusion and interminable lines. Yahoo Finance’s Los Angeles-based reporter Melody Hahm reports for Yahoo Finance’s On The Move that, after a week of chaos, passengers seem pleasantly surprised at the improvements that have been made.

She noted that there were restrooms and food stations nearby. People headed to their Ubers or Lyfts in a leisurely fashion and seemed to be in decent spirits.

Arriving passengers walk with their luggage as they prepare to board vehicles at the new 'LAX-it' ride-hail passenger pickup lot at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on November 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

On Oct. 29, LAX got rid of curbside pickup for Uber and Lyft and moved pickup to a new area that also includes taxi pickup called LAX-it (pronounced LA Exit). Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times brought that the new system had “brought turmoil” and noted that “rogue” riders were walking away from the official pickup area to find rides elsewhere in the neighborhood.

That did not appear to be the case on Friday, Nov. 8, according to Hahm. Just the night before, she got a chance to try out the system herself when flying to LAX. Between the time she spent taking a shuttle to get to the pickup area and actually getting her Lyft, she waited about 35 minutes — not the worst wait in the world for the country’s second-busiest airport.

How does LAX-it work?

Melody Hahm explained to YFi AM’s Dan Roberts how it works: 

When you land, riders grab one of 43 green shuttles that are roaming around the airport and come every three to five minutes. When you arrive at the LAX-it, the passenger receives a 6 digit code that is paired with a vehicle that is already on site. 

In a press release, Los Angeles World Airports said : “During the first six days, average LAX-it shuttle headways were three to five minutes, with travel time from curb to lot taking on average 10 minutes or less. Guests are also experiencing reduced wait times for ride app vehicles for non-peak hours, with the majority of guests waiting less than 10 minutes for a ride app vehicle during non-peak hours.”

Tracey Marx Bernstein is a senior producer for Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade and YFi AM.

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