On Thursday, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Board of Commissioners finally granted Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services the green light to pick up passengers, making LAX the the second-busiest and largest U.S. airport to do so.
Prior to the decision, ride-sharing services were only allowed to drop customers off at LAX. Much to the chagrin of taxis, they will now be able to both drop off and pick up customers.
Paul Ero, a cab driver in Los Angeles for the last 19 years, was among a group of taxi drivers who reportedly protested outside of the airport administration’s building before the commissioners’ meeting, holding up signs which read “Uber driver or convicted felon? BOTH.”
According to Southern California Public Radio (SCPR), taxi drivers who testified before the commission said allowing ridesharing services to pick up from the airport would put taxi cabs out of business.
Studies point to an 18% decrease in overall taxi business–and as SCPR notes, UCLA Labor Center Research Director Saba Waheed found that between 2013 and 2014, there was an increase in taxi visits to LAX, indicating “that the airport is really the last lifeline for taxis in Los Angeles.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Airport officials said that 8% of passengers arrive at LAX by taxi, while about 6% arrive using ridesharing services. Uber and Lyft tend to be much more competitively priced than tax cabs.
There is a caveat to the new deal. The Times notes that Uber and Lyft would be required to pay $4 for each drop-off and pickup, and that the companies would also need to pay LAX at least $25,000 per month for their new right to pick up at LAX. The new policy could start taking effect as soon as August of this year.