On Aug. 25 the L.A. City Council voted once and for all to open LAX's upper level to ride-hailing pickups, which previously had been outlawed.
This means that UberX, Lyft, Sidecar and other app-based companies that let everyday drivers use their cars to make extra cash can be hailed via smartphone at our international airport.
It's a good thing for all you Uber fans out there, we know. But it's not happening immediately.
The ride-hailing companies were free to submit applications to pick up at LAX following that vote, but the firms have been moving slowly.
It could, for example, be awhile before you see an UberX vehicle legally pick someone up at the airport.
LAX spokeswoman Mary Grady says city officials have estimated it should take about a month for the application process to be completed and pickups to begin. That's once applications are submitted and certain requirements are met.
The problem is, Uber hasn't even submitted its application for airport pickups yet. We were told that the company was in the process of completing its application and will have it submitted in a matter of weeks.
Lyft says it submitted an application electronically and mailed the hard-copy version just this week. “We received confirmation from the permits office yesterday that they had gotten that hard copy,” a spokeswoman told us.
The ride-hailing companies lobbied hard for the opportunity to pick up at LAX, and they faced stiff opposition from cab companies, which have long argued that firms like Uber have the unfair advantage of operating outside stiff taxi regulations (disabled pickup requirements, mandatory drives through under-served neighborhoods, higher insurance costs).
It's strange to see that the apps haven't hopped to it faster.
Even with the applications in hand, it's a guess as to how long it will take to get final approval for pickups, Grady said.
“It's hard to say how long it's going to take because we haven't done this yet,” she said. “They're going to have to meet the requirements.”
Most of you are saying “Godspeed.” Unless you drive a taxi.
Headline has been edited. We also edited copy to take out a time element.
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