Rideshare Lyft Pick Up Approved at LAX Starting Christmas Week

Lyft can start picking up travelers just in time for the holidays.

The ride-hailing company Lyft will begin pickup service at Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday as holiday travel out of the airport is expected to sharply increase.

City leaders approved a blanket licensing agreement earlier this year to allow Lyft and similar companies, such as Uber, to apply for permits to operate at LAX alongside taxis, shuttles and other transportation services.

Lyft will be the first to begin operating at LAX under the agreement. Their service will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Ride-hailing companies can already drop off passengers at LAX, but have been unable to legally make pickups. Some ride-hailing companies have worked around the restriction by picking people up just off airport property.

A record 3.5 million travelers were expected to come through LAX over a 17-day holiday period that began Friday, Dec. 18 Sunday, Jan. 3. Travel experts said they expected LAX to be the busiest airport in the U.S., according to LAX.

Bakari Brock, a senior director with Lyft, said the company is "excited that Los Angeles visitors and residents will be able to get a Lyft ride to and from LAX, just in time for the holiday season.

Uber is also in the process of obtaining a permit to operate at LAX.

Airport officials said they "continue to diligently review" documents submitted by Rasier-CA, the company that operates Uber service in California, to make sure requirements are "properly satisfied."

Two other companies, Wingz and Opoli, are also applying for permits, according to airport officials.

Ride-hailing services, also known as "transportation network companies," that obtain the needed permits will be allowed to make pickups on LAX's upper departure level. The services will pay the airport $4 per trip — a fee that will likely be passed along to passengers — and must follow rules aimed at reducing congestion in LAX's central terminal area.

Councilman Mike Bonin, whose district includes LAX, said Lyft service will "broaden the range of choices for passengers, making it easier to go to and from the airport."

He added that the licensing agreement "negotiated by the Board of Airport Commissioners protects nearby neighborhoods with technology that prevents drivers from parking on their streets while they wait for calls."

"This is a `win-win' for passengers and neighborhoods that we should all celebrate," he said.

Lyft touted the news on its website, announcing that customers will be given $5 off two rides to or from the airport by using the payment code FLY2015. The promotion will be good until Jan. 1.

According to Lyft's website, the service will have six designated pickup locations on the upper level at LAX. 

City News Service and Toni Guinyard contributed to this report.

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