Business & Economy

LA City Council committee votes 3-2 in favor of allowing Uber, Lyft at LAX

Supporters wear pink and blue Lyft and Uber shirts on the right, white taxi shirts on the left, at a Los Angeles City Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015.
Supporters wear pink and blue Lyft and Uber shirts on the right, white taxi shirts on the left, at a Los Angeles City Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015.
Meghan McCarty/KPCC

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A committee of the Los Angeles City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to support an earlier decision to allow rideshare services like Uber and Lyft to pick up riders at LAX, the second busiest airport in the country.

The full council will vote on the issue next week, and it's still possible they'll vote to reject the LAX ridesharing plan.

In July, the Airport Commission decided to allow ridesharing companies full access to LAX after more than a year of back and forth with taxi companies, who see the airport as their last competitive advantage over the often cheaper rideshare services.

Earlier this month, city councilmembers with concerns about the way Uber and Lyft operate voted to "assert jurisdiction" over the matter and review the Airport Commission's decision. 

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has backed Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing companies, promising in his State of the City address in April that they would be picking up passengers the airport by this summer.

Several members of city council want heavier regulation of the rideshare companies before they are allowed at LAX. Paul Koretz has called the services "bandit cabs with apps," and said he wants them to submit to the same rules as taxi companies, such as fingerprinting drivers and guaranteeing the cars are equipped to handle passengers with disabilities.

Because rideshare companies are regulated at the state level by the California Public Utilities Commission, the airport decision could be the only way for the city to enforce stricter standards on rideshare drivers in the area.

The current plan put forward by the Airport Commission would require rideshare companies to pay the airport $25,000 a month. It would also enforce a $4 charge for each dropoff and pick-up, which taxi companies only have to pay for pick-ups.

The airport would use a geofence to track Uber and Lyft cars as they enter and exit the airport. Only 40 such cars would be allowed in the airport at one time, and all would have to drop off and pick up passengers at the Arrivals section.

This story has been updated.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly referred to the decision about allowing Uber and Lyft at the airport by the committee as being made by the Council instead. KPCC regrets the error.