UPDATE: See my new post: UberX halts all LAX pickups amid increased police vigilance
Watch out, ride-sharing aficionados.
Los Angeles International Airport is cracking down on UberX, Lyft and Sidecar drivers making pickups in the Central Terminal Area. A law enforcement source told me that Los Angeles World Airports police have issued 200 citations and made two arrests of ride-sharing drivers since December. The majority of those citations, the source said, have been to UberX drivers.
Despite the recent California Public Utilities Commission decision that allowed the companies to operate freely statewide, drivers from the trio are still barred from picking up at LAX, which can make its own rules. To make airport pickups for money, livery drivers must obtain what are called TCP numbers from the state. (Drivers for Uber, the fancier car service owned by the same company, already have these numbers and are legally permitted to make airport pickups.)
The good news is that drivers do not need to be licensed to drop off travelers, so you can continue to take ride-sharing companies to the airport without fear your driver will be stopped.
Also good news: Only the drivers are cited, so you don’t have much to worry if you’re a passenger. About the worst that will happen is you’ll be asked to get out of the car.
Drivers call and ask Pugh to wait in unusual places, such as in front of the Iberia Airlines sign at the airport’s main international terminal or between Terminals 1 and 2. Then, when the car pulls up, Pugh, 28, often puts his own luggage in the trunk and sits in the front seat. “That way,” Pugh said, “it really looks like they were picking up a family member.”
I believe the airport and ride-sharing companies are seeking to implement a program that would allow drivers to register for some sort of permission to serve the airport. So it’s possible this crackdown will be a short-term thing.
Here’s what Uber spokesman Andrew Noyes had to say.
“Consistent with the CPUC’s recent decision, we look forward to
working with the authorities to resolve these issues and ensure that
Uber riders have the best possible experience being picked up at LAX.”
Also a Tipster pointed me to this discussion on Uber’s public Facebook page. It’s pretty interesting. It can be found, at least for now, here.