Ride-sharing services won a big victory this week when Los Angeles officials agreed to let the UberX and Lyft pick up passengers at Los Angeles International, the largest airport yet to grant such rights. (Until now, only pricey UberBLACK cars were allowed to pick up at LAX.)
But that victory came just a day after a potentially big legal setback for Uber that could see its operating rights suspended in California.
LAX airport commissioners gave a go-ahead to the ride-sharing apps in spite of the usual solid opposition from local taxi, shuttle and limo operators. According to the Los Angeles Times, an UberX ride from LAX to downtown would cost about $30 during times of low demand — although that could rise due to Uber’s dynamic pricing model — vs. about $50 for a traditional taxi.
Before the pickups can start in August, the ride-sharing companies have to connect their apps to a digital service that alerts the airport to Uber and Lyft vehicle arrivals at the airport, because the agreement requires them to pay a $4 fee for each pick-up and drop-off.
A day before the airport’s approval was announced, a judge at California’s Public Utilities Commission recommended that Uber should pay a $7.3 million fine and have its operations suspended in the state.
The commission’s administrative law judge said Uber is in violation of a 2013 law that authorized the ride-sharing companies because it has not submitted data required by the state. The rules require ride-sharing companies to provide lots of information about its business, including zip codes where riders were picked up, fares paid, dates and times of rides and so on.
Uber is expected to appeal the ruling, a process that could take months to sort out. So you’ll still be able to get your ride on… at least for now.
LAX is the third in a string of recent ridesharing victories in California where UberX and Lyft are now able to pick up and drop off at SFO, San Diego as well as LAX.
UPDATE: Sounds like LA officials might be getting cold feet about all this. So be sure to check with your rideshare before you arrive at LAX.
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