Why can’t UberX, Lyft and Sidecar make LAX pickups?

Lyft is banned from picking up passengers at LAX. Photo credit: Associated Press.

Lyft is banned from picking up passengers at LAX. Photo credit: Associated Press.

A blog is a great place for short bursts of information. But sometimes, we still need the newspaper.

In Saturday’s newspaper, I explain the entire saga of why Lyft, Sidecar and UberX are banned from picking up passengers at LAX.  Below is the gist, but click on the link for the full story, including an account from a passenger who was in the car when her driver was pulled over.

“Amid a police crackdown on casual drivers illegally soliciting fares at Los Angeles International Airport, popular ride-sharing brand UberX moved Friday to halt pickups in the Central Terminal Area, though it will continue facilitating rides to the airport.

Since December, police have stepped up their enforcement of little-known regulations designed to protect livery and taxi drivers, frustrating ride-sharing drivers and leaving their customers bewildered. In the past two months, a law enforcement source said, Los Angeles World Airports police have cited about 200 drivers and made two arrests for illegal pickups on the upper and lower roadways.

The vast majority of Los Angeles Municipal Code citations, the source said, went to drivers for UberX, perhaps the most recognizable brand in an industry that includes competitors Lyft and Sidecar. Last week, Sidecar also told its drivers they might want to avoid LAX pickups, though its mobile phone application still allows them.

While the California Public Utilities Commission last year endorsed the right of the three firms and others like them to operate statewide, its decision left intact special arrangements at airports, which have the right to decide what cars may use them. Los Angeles International allows only properly licensed livery and taxi drivers to pick up passengers, and most drivers at the three major ride-sharing companies lack the proper credentials. Usually, drivers for UberX, Lyft and Sidecar are driving their own cars and are dispatched to fares by a mobile phone application.”

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  • pitbullstew

    lets agree to disagree on your theory of protectionism for this enforcement shall we? I have seen limousines ticketed and towed for expired permits at LAX which kinda debunks yer notion that somehow limousines services are behind this?

  • T G

    The PUC has ruled that all of the rideshare app drivers are indeed operating their cars as commercial transportation vehicles. And under he LAX regulations, all such vehicles must be approved, registered, and permitted by LAX, so therefore they are operating in clear violation of the law, no matter how “cool” they are.