Taxi drivers were told by staff members at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday that they will once again be able to pick up passengers curbside at the Central Terminal Area through a pilot program.
The staff members informed the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners that they will modify the airport's LAX-it program to bring back curbside taxi stands to two locations inside the terminal areas.
"This step will certainly help restore the taxi industry to its rightful and historic place at LAX," said Bill Rouse, general manager of Yellow Cab.
In October, LAXI-it pushed taxis, ride-hail services and shuttles to a specific lot outside the CTA to pick up passengers, which taxi drivers said crippled their business. All services were still allowed to drop off passengers inside.
LAX permitted taxis to park outside the baggage claim areas at a half-dozen terminals for decades, but recent increases in traffic and long wait times to exit the airport prompted the new pick-up station while construction takes place on the airport's multi-billion-dollar improvement projects.
Airport officials said LAX-it has decreased the number of vehicles in the CTA an average of 12-13% each day.
"Two taxi stands inside the central terminal is better than none," Rouse said. "It will mean better, more convenient service for travelers. Today's decision demonstrates that LAX staff recognize the vital role the taxi industry plays in serving travelers arriving at LAX. It also recognizes that the industry can only play that vital role if it is financially viable."
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One taxi stand will be in place for a three-month trial period later this month, airport officials said, and it will serve Terminals 7 and 8. A second taxi stand will be located in Parking Structure 3, near the Delta and Bradley International terminals. Passengers at other terminals will still be able to walk or take a shuttle to the LAX-it lot to catch a taxi.
During this three-month trial period, airport officials said they will closely monitor the effects the taxi stand operations have on traffic congestion.