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Uber LAX pickup service gets green light

Passengers wishing to be picked up by an UberX or Lyft car must head upstairs to departures and wait in these designated areas.
Passengers wishing to be picked up by an UberX or Lyft car must head upstairs to departures and wait in these designated areas.
Meghan McCarty/KPCC

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Passengers can call on Uber's cheaper ride-hailing service for pickups starting Thursday.

Uber isn't the first ride-hailing service cleared to pick up passengers at the country’s second busiest airport. Its competitor, Lyft, beat them to the punch, starting pickups just before Christmas.

Uber Southern California General Manager, Christopher Ballard, said in a statement: 

"We are thrilled to help simplify and modernize the airport travel experience with the launch of uberX rideshare pick-ups at LAX. Angelenos asked — and Mayor Garcetti and city leaders listened — and now the millions of travellers who pass through LAX every year will have the option to push a button and get a safe, reliable and affordable ride when they land."

Both Uber and Lyft fought for months against the taxi industry and some city officials to gain access to the lucrative LAX market. 

The companies had been able to drop off passengers at the airport, but not pick them up — which forced some users to take shuttles to parking lots or hotels to get picked up by Uber outside of the airport.

As part of the new ride-hailing service, passengers who request an Uber or Lyft ride must collect their luggage and go upstairs to the departures section to meet their drivers.

They can stand at designated waiting areas marked by sign posts.

All trips both to and from the airport with uberX and Lyft will cost riders an extra $4.