The terminals of Los Angeles International Airport will be turning pink for Christmas, because the ride-hailing service Lyft, known for its colorful branding, began picking up passengers Wednesday at 8 a.m.
Lyft was cleared for pickups after months of back-and-forth over whether the services should be allowed at LAX, and a long and complicated application process which involved demonstrating geofence technology to route all requests to a designated waiting area.
Lyft released a statement saying, "We’re excited that Los Angeles visitors and residents will be able to get a Lyft ride to and from LAX, just in time for the holiday season."
Last spring in his State of the City address, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti promised that ride-hailing services would be able to pick up passengers by last summer. The Airport Commission decided in July to offer a permit to s"transportation network companies" like Uber and Lyft, but the City Council stepped in to review the decision.
"I had hoped to deliver it by the summer," said Garcetti. "I'm just glad we were able to deliver it. This is part of what we promised: to get more options to more people and make LAX a truly world-class airport."
Lyft becomes the first ride-hailing service to be permitted at LAX, the country's second busiest airport. Its big-name competitor, Uber, has not yet been approved for its low-cost service, UberX, though more expensive options with commercial vehicles have always been permitted to pick up at the airport.
Uber spokesman Michael Amodeo said in an emailed statement: "We couldn't agree more that Angelenos deserve more reliable ways to get to and from LAX, and we are confident that it’s only a matter of time until Los Angeles' most popular ridesharing option is available alongside UberSELECT, UberBLACK and UberSUV at the airport."
There is no restriction on using any ride-hailing service to get to the airport, but passengers who want to use Lyft to get away at LAX should know:
- All pickups will be performed at the upper departures level, not the lower arrivals level. Passengers must follow signs and take their baggage to the curb upstairs to meet their driver.
- Passengers will be charged a $4 airport surcharge for pickups and dropoffs.