LAX cracks down on UberX, Lyft and Sidecar; Source says there have been 200 citations since December

UberX

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.

“Most passengers don’t know what the rules are,” said Sgt. Karla Ortiz of Los Angeles World Airports police. “They don’t understand them. They are just here and need transportation. We understand that. But the drivers need to know what the rules are and they need to follow those rules.”
I wrote a story about this issue in October. At the time, several people told me, the airport was not enforcing its own rules. But even then, drivers were aware of them. This is what passenger Derek Pugh told me:

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.  

LAXUBER2

 

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  • brothenberg

    Direct from the LAX PD.. “Yes. We are citing for 171.02b LAMC for picking up without a permit. City attorney is filing 80% and tossing out 20%” — Drivers beware..

    • Alex Isakov

      LAX PD is the worst bunch of all. They have nothing else to do. They used to crack down on cab drivers, just because the trip log is missing one last trip. C’mon fucktards, it’s LADOT’s job to check on trip logs. You should have more serious things to take care of.

      • brothenberg

        Huh, the rides are clearly illegal. The officer has been pretty chill and emails back on the issue. They are doing their job.. there are tons and tons of fake cabs (lots from Koreatown, etc).. have you seen the movie “bone collector” its all about safety and well money.. one or two companies have already setup a system with LAX to operate, Brian has not covered them yet.. but there will be some shining stars from all this who setup things correctly with LAX. LAX is happy to collect a spreadsheet of a rides and a check.. Uber/Lyft/Sidecar need to get off their buts and talk to them.. but its been done by at least one or two others.. just wait..

        • Steve Walker

          “”"one or two companies have already setup a system with LAX to operate”"

          What kind of companies? Limo Companies or App companies?