A Los Angeles City Council panel will weigh in today on a plan to allow ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to pick up passengers from LAX.
The city’s Transportation, Commerce and Technology Committee is expected to further scrutinize passenger safety, disability access and other issues associated with the ride-hailing companies.
The council voted earlier this month to re-examine an Airport Commission decision last month to allow ride-hailing companies to make pick-ups at Los Angeles International Airport.
The Airport Commission’s decision gave ride-hailing companies the right to join taxis, shuttle vans and other transportation services that serve the Los Angeles International Airport.
The move to temporarily halt the plan was pushed by Councilman Paul Krekorian, who said “significant questions remain” as to “the propriety of mandating background checks, clean fleet requirements, non-discrimination and equality of access,” among other issues.
Krekorian said the Airport Commission “wholly ignored” concerns he raised along with fellow Councilman Paul Koretz about whether ride-hailing companies are adequately regulated to ensure the safety of passengers.
Krekorian and Koretz sent a joint letter to the commission last month saying they would not support an agreement that lacked safety regulations “substantially similar” to those imposed on taxi companies, including provisions addressing disability access, insurance, environmental requirements and other issues.
Koretz has said the Airport Commission-adopted agreement is a rare opportunity for city leaders to consider stronger regulations for such companies.
The city is otherwise powerless to improve upon regulations adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission, which has jurisdiction on the companies.
The CPUC “put in the most minuscule level of regulations and prevented cities from going further for reasons that are not apparent to me,” Koretz said.
Ride-hailing drivers say their customers are eager for pick-ups at LAX to begin. Such rides are among the top requests by passengers, who enjoy the low cost, payment methods and the ability to book trips on their phones, drivers say.
Since ride-hailing companies are not currently allowed to pick up passengers directly from the airport, many said passengers now skirt the restriction by arranging to be picked up at locations near LAX.
Ride-hailing companies are allowed to drop people off at LAX, but only transportation companies with permits can legally make pickups.
Uber spokesman Michael Amodeo said earlier this month that the company is hoping to see ride-hailing services incorporated at LAX by the end of summer.
“Riders and driver-partners across Los Angeles have voiced their strong support for more safe, affordable transportation options like uberX at LAX,” Amodeo said.
Lyft also issued a statement calling on the council “to move quickly and make options like Lyft available for Los Angeles travelers.”
To obtain a permit under the Airport Commission-approved agreement, ride- hailing companies would need to have an active permit from the California Public Utilities Commission, sufficient insurance coverage, pay a $4-per-trip fee and a monthly licensing fee and follow other requirements.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in his State of the City speech in April that he intended to allow ride-hailing companies to pick up passengers at LAX. The ride-hailing agreement approved by the Airport Commission is “part of my agenda to make getting around L.A. easier, faster and more affordable,” Garcetti said after the panel’s vote.