LOS ANGELES - A small group of taxi drivers held a news conference Friday outside City Hall to ask the Los Angeles City Council to intervene on their decision to block drivers from picking up LAX passengers as usual.
Starting October 29, taxi and ridesharing services are ending curbside pickups outside LAX terminals. Under new guidelines, passengers will have to walk or take a shuttle to a parking lot near Terminal 1 to hail a ride.
Taxi drivers say their business has dropped 77-percent since the introduction of Uber and Luft, and now, they say they are being unfairly punished at LAX.
"Taxis take up a disproportionate amount of curb space at LAX --approximately 18.5% of the inner cub on the lower level -- and, with a closureof 30% of that curb for construction, we just don't have that space,''according to the airport. We have been working with taxi companies for nearlya year, and as a result, LAX-it will have more taxi queuing space than theycurrently have in the whole Central Terminal Area, and taxis will be on thefirst LAX-it curb closest to the shuttle dropoff."
Airport officials added taxis make up nearly 5 percent of pick-up traffic, while rideshares make up about 14 percent.
Airport officials announced earlier this month that all taxi and ride-hailing pickups will be moved out of the terminal area, although dropoffs will still be permitted.
Under the new system, shuttle buses will travel in a dedicated lane around the Central Terminal Area picking up passengers and carrying them to the LAX-it pickup lot. Airport officials said passengers will never wait more than five minutes for a shuttle, and the ride to the lot will take a maximum of 15 minutes, thanks to the dedicated lane.
The airport plans to run a test of the shuttle-system traffic pattern from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, although taxi and Lyft/Uber service will not be affected or restricted.
The LAX-it lot is scheduled to open at 3 a.m. Oct. 29.
City News Service contributed to this report.