Lyft, UberX and Sidecar remain illegal at LAX. So why do they still operate there?

It is against the rules at LAX for ride-sharing drivers from UberX, Sidecar and Lyft to pick up passengers. So why are they doing so anyway, almost with impunity?

From what I learned in writing my story for today’s newspaper, it’s because LAX police are not enforcing airport rules. Technically, drivers can only pick up travelers for money if they have the proper permits. Most rideshare drivers do not have these permits. (That shouldn’t be a surprise, as most aren’t really professional drivers.)

I tried to press an airport police spokeswoman on whether officers were tacitly allowing UberX, Sidecar and Lyft to operate at LAX, but she declined to engage me. Instead, she simply said that LAX police were tasked with enforcing all laws and regulations. But I asked around, and I don’t get a feeling any drivers are being hit with citations.

Taxi drivers are apoplectic, and I think they may have a point. They must collect a $4 fee for every fare they pick up at the airport. The ride-sharing firms do not collect this fee, which makes their fares cheaper.

Eventually, I predict that ride-sharing drivers will get clearance from LAX to pick up passengers. But I suspect the process with be regulated in some way, and perhaps they’ll have to pay a fee to the airport for pickups — just like cab drivers.

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