On Tuesday, Los Angeles International Airport debuted its new ride share system, LAX-it. The rollout was anything but smooth.
With hour-plus waits for rides, packed shuttles, confused drivers and angry passengers, Los Angeles World Airports and the Mayor’s Office made the smart call and reached out to us, the drivers, to try to work toward a solution to the Uber and Lyft bottleneck.
Thursday morning, MWA drivers met with LAWA staff and two representatives from Mayor Garcetti’s office to discuss our experiences with the new system (mostly not good!) and to suggest improvements.
There’s no doubt that our powerful demonstration at LAX on October 2nd is what led to us getting the call about this issue. Our movement is growing every day, and with it, our ability to have a say in the decisions that affect us.
That one of the biggest airports in the world and the mayor of one of the biggest cities in the world came to us for help is proof that we are winning!
At the start of the meeting, everyone acknowledged that they should have reached out to drivers beforehand, rather than trust the companies to communicate.
During the meeting, we told these officials firsthand how frustrating the system is for drivers and riders and how this, combined with Uber and Lyft’s lack of concern for their drivers, could lead to big problems down the road.
- Wait times of an hour or more are unacceptable. That’s time that drivers are working and not getting paid.
- Packed shuttles and confusing signage create a huge headache for riders and lead to cancelled rides, which is even more time that drivers aren’t earning.
- Separating lines by app allows Uber and Lyft to price gouge via surges and slow up traffic through the LAX-it pick up area.
- No curbside pickup is difficult for elderly and disabled passengers.
- The overall lack of direction sets up drivers to be hit with huge tickets that can wipe out a day’s pay or more.
Additionally, we reached out to our network of more than 10,000 drivers to survey those who had tried the new system and were able to give concrete data on what drivers think works and what doesn’t, as well as firsthand accounts of the first three days of the new system.
The conversation was productive and the airport and city officials were receptive to our ideas. We’re hopeful that some of our suggestions will be put into practice as early as next week!
In addition to asking LAWA to make changes that are fully under their control, we also asked the airport and the city to a) ask the police department to put a hold on ticketing ride share drivers until the new system is worked out and b) to put pressure on the ride share companies not to punish or deactivate drivers for cancellations or other complaints related to LAX-it.
We know that this will be an ongoing process and are excited to announce that we’ve scheduled future meetings with LAWA and the mayor’s office to continue to provide feedback as we refine this new system.
If you haven’t already, please take our survey on the LAX-it program. The more drivers speak out, the better positioned we are to make change. TAKE THE SURVEY
This is a huge victory for every Mobile Workers Alliance driver! Our unity and strength is winning us a seat at the table that the companies can’t ignore.