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LAX’s New Ride-Share Lot Faces First Sunday Traffic Test

LAX was expecting nearly 54,000 passengers Sunday evening, with ride-share wait times varying greatly through the night.

Long lines, fewer ride-share vehicles and reports of surge pricing led to frustrated travelers in Los Angeles International Airport's new ride-share and taxi lot Sunday, the busiest travel day of the week.

Officials at LAX warned travelers to brace for the Sunday rush, with the airport expecting almost 54,000 passengers arriving between 5 p.m. and midnight – 16.5% more than the 45,000 Saturday night, according to an airport press release.

This was the first Sunday since the airport implemented a new ride-share and taxi policy, requiring all travelers leaving the airport via taxi or ride-share to go to a special lot.

The move has led to confusion and anger from travelers and drivers. Travelers voiced frustrations about to the long lines and even made claims that the ride-share prices had jumped.

One person told NBCLA that a ride home from the airport usually costs about $40. On Sunday, the traveler said the ride would cost $140.

Beyond the pricing, part of the problem appeared to be a lack of ride-share vehicles entering the lot, possibly due to traffic entering the area of the airport.

LAX's new system was intended to reduce traffic during construction of the Automatic People Mover train.

"Sunday is always the busiest day of the week for LAX, and it is expected that this first Sunday of LAX-it operations will be no exception. [Los Angeles World Airports] officials are doing everything possible to make the peak of the week as smooth as possible," an LAX press release from earlier in the day stated.

The number of shuttles ferrying passengers to LAX-it was increased by 15% Friday to 35 vehicles, and the Sunday notice explained that additional shuttles and staff would be present to improve ride-share wait times.

Curbside drop-offs are unaffected by the new policy, however, and airport officials said that the new policy has cleared up traffic on the upper and lower levels inside airport.

There was an average of 13,000 fewer vehicles per day in the Central Terminal Area of the airport in the first five days of LAX-it than during the previous week, according to the press release.

LAX reports approximate wait times at LAX-it on Twitter at @flyLAXairport. Parking availability and travel times are reported on Twitter at @FlyLAXstats.

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