UberX: LAX police chief says officers have no choice but to ticket ride-share drivers

Why have LAX police made it so difficult for UberX to operate at the airport?

Why have LAX police made it so difficult for UberX to operate at the airport?

There are more important stories than whether Los Angeles International Airport allows UberX and Lyft drivers to make pickups and drop-offs. I realize this. However, I got a chance on Wednesday to ask airport police chief Patrick Gannon why airport police have been assessing so many tickets recently to ride-sharing drivers.

“It is not fair to cite other taxis and limos for not following the applicable rules here at the airport and not apply the same rules to others,” Gannon said. “That is where the rub is. I would prefer that some agreement is made to allow everybody to work appropriately here. But in the meantime they are not sanctioned.”

As we’ve said before, there are two main issues. The first is that most drivers for UberX and Lyft do not have proper permits from LAX to legally make airport pickups. (LAX gets to make its own rules.) The second is that most drivers for the two ride-share companies lack commercial insurance. And since the drivers are providing a commercial service, the police say they should have the right insurance. Police spokeswoman Sgt. Belinda Nettles told me LAX officers gave out 112 citations for “no commercial insurance” in January alone. (Most of the insurance citations are considered “secondary violations,” which means that airport police pull over the drivers for another reason and then ask to see insurance papers.)

We know that elsewhere in California, drivers have found police more willing to look the other way. But Gannon said that’s not a feasible approach at LAX.

“I cant just ignore the rules and the law,” Gannon said. “That kind of puts my officers in a bad position as to to when they are having to enforce the law fairly across the board.”

Gannon did have some potentially good news for ride-sharing aficionados. He said some of the ride-share companies have been in talks with LAX management to get drivers the proper paperwork to operate there. Of course, those drivers would still need commercial insurance.

“There is a well established protocol as to how that works and a requirement for people to able to operate here,” Gannon said. “It’s all done for all the right reasons to make sure that we protect passengers and that they are not victimized by unscrupulous people.”

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  • Steve Walker

    This is Uber’s direction to drivers. Since the city is not really doing anything with the tickets keep up with business as usual:

    Response from Uber partner support:

    “Thanks for reaching out! Yes, we are aware of these issues at LAX, and I understand your concern. The Peer to Peer ridesharing model that you are operating under is legal in California and although some drivers have been ticketed, it is our understanding that the city is taking no action on moving forward with these tickets.

    That being said, if you are given a ticket, please provide us with the trip info, and a copy or photo of the ticket so that we can forward this information to the proper department and help you resolve the issue. Thanks!”

    While the 200 tickets written is a nice number to throw around my understanding is they got downgraded to a warning and no fines given. Would like to see some stats on how many limo and taxi tickets gets reduced to warnings.

  • http://www.vintagechauffeuring.com/ Andrew Armitage

    Needs to be fair accross the board. Why are Uber / Lyft allowed to transport people for business without having commercial insurance? Not having to get that commercial insurance drops one of the most expensive costs of doing business and gives them an unfair advantage and places consumers in a position where they are unkowingly being driven around without insurance coverage if there is an accident. So throwing technology behind a gypsy cab makes it legitimate?