LAXit (pronounced LA-Exit) is the latest attempt to control traffic around Los Angeles International Airport by moving Taxi, Lyft, Uber, and Opoli pickups to a remote parking lot. Passengers catch the LAX-it shuttle from the terminal curbside and are dropped off at the LAX-it parking lot, where they will find their ride. The goal of this new system is to reduce waiting times and get passengers out of the airport faster.
The first several weeks after the opening of LAX-it did not go smoothly. Passengers waited over an hour for a ride and surge pricing was through the roof. The experience left many people confused and frustrated. However, with time and a few adjustments, the new system seems to be working as designed.
The lime green LAX-it shuttles are hard to miss. Signage touting the new system and directions to the shuttles are all over baggage claim and the first floor. Outside, the shuttles use the inside curb lane to pick up passengers at the terminals. During peak periods, the shuttles arrive every 5 minutes at each terminal. The passengers and their luggage take the buses around the terminal loop and to the LAX-it parking lot. The whole process is supposed to take around 15-20 minutes.
The LAX-it Lot is located next to Terminal 1 (Southwest), within a five-minute walking distance. The walk route is a wide sidewalk with large LAX-it signs clearly marking the way. From Terminal 7, the parking lot is about a half-mile away (10 minute walk) and has large banners that mark the route as passengers cross the street to the LAX-it Lot.
The large parking lot has seven lanes for rideshare vehicles with designated pick-up zones for taxis, Uber, Lyft, and Opoli. Instead of connecting you with a driver, the app will direct you to a pickup zone to wait for the next available driver. They have tried to make the experience as comfortable possible, providing umbrellas and benches in case of rain, four accessible restrooms, and even food trucks are available throughout the day.
Finding your ride
Once you have retrieved your luggage from baggage claim, then you can launch the ride app and request your ride. The app will give you a designated pick up zone to meet your driver. During busy periods, you won’t be connected with a specific driver, but instead will give you a 6-digit PIN code to match you with a driver. If you need any help, look for LAX staff in green vests or Lyft representatives in pink vests and Uber representatives in black.
LAX Rideshare Pickup
There are seven color-coded lanes designated for the rideshare app services and taxis. Taxis and Opoli are located at Lane 1 (Yellow). LAX Uber pickup is located at Lanes 2-4 (Green). LAX Lyft pickup is located at Lanes 5-7 (Pink).
Beware of price surges
The traffic, waiting times, and hiccups in the new system have deterred drivers from picking up passengers at LAX. Rideshare drivers have complained about long waits preventing them from working elsewhere in that time. This reluctance has caused a shortage of drivers, which generates price surges. If you don't want to deal with the hassle of the new LAXit system, then consider parking at the LAX Airport. You won't have to wait on anyone else's schedule and you won't have to be concerned about surge pricing.
Why is it necessary?
With the new LAX-it system, convenient Uber or Lyft curbside pickups come to an end. But why was this disruption necessary? LAX is the fourth-busiest airport in the world and the second-busiest in the United States after ATL, as it sees over 250,000 passengers passing through every day. However, unlike most other world airports, LAX does not have a direct train connection, which means that all passengers must arrive or depart by road.
Over 100,000 cars drive through the LAX terminal loop every day, which is well above what traffic engineers say the airport can handle. This causes massive delays and back-ups, which chokes the surrounding neighborhoods and creates a constant traffic jam. LAX-it is supposed to alleviate this congestion.
The goal of LAX-it is to get passengers out of the terminal loop as fast as possible, without bringing more cars into the area. Over time, officials hope that this process will mean fewer backups so that the process from the airport to the pickup lot should only take 15 minutes.
More Tips on LAX Drop-Offs and Pick-Ups
- LAX Uber, Lyft, Opoli, and Taxis will still drop-off guests directly at the Departure Level when arriving at the airport. LAX-it is only used for pickups.
- Premium Uber and Lyft rides (e.g., Uber Black, Uber Black SUV, Uber XL, Lyft Black, Lyft LUX), as well as limousines and town cars, still pick up directly from the terminals.
- There are two Taxi stands within the Central Terminal Area, at the International Terminal and Terminal 7.
- Personal vehicles can still drop off and pick up passengers at the terminals. LAX-it only affects people leaving the airport by taxi or rideshare services.
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