On Thursday, Uber started transporting passengers from LAX, cutting into taxi drivers’ opportunities and prompting taxi drivers to slam the ride-sharing company for lax security procedures.
William Rouse, general manager of Yellow Cab of Los Angeles, the largest taxicab company in the city, told Southern California Public Radio, “They continue using a weak background check system that does not even have the possibility of considering convictions that are over seven years old. There’s no doubt that there are certain consumers who choose [ridesharing companies] in spite of their obvious risks.”
Taxi service has not declined at LAX; in fact, Rouse admitted that Yellow Cab pick-ups were 7% higher in January 2016 than in January 2015. The UCLA Labor Center has reported that although taxi service plunged 18% between 2013 and 2014 after Uber and rival ride-sharer Lyft arrived in Los Angeles in 2013, airport rides during the same period rose 15 percent. The Labor Center acknowledged, “Airports are one of the prized sites for earnings for taxi drivers. Drivers are given access to the airport one day of the week known as their ‘airport day.’ Drivers typically earn more money due to longer fares, and they tend to work longer days.”
Uber’s website states that its vetting of its drivers is adequate, writing, “In the US, potential Uber driver-partners are required to undergo a screening process, which includes a driving and criminal history check that covers county, federal, and multi-state databases.”
Lyft started picking up passengers at LAX in late December, but its permit required the company to pay LAX at least $25,000 per month from $4 fees for each drop-off and pickup. Those funds are contributed to the airport’s general operating budget. Those same provisions now apply to Uber.