For Immediate Release
Nov. 12, 2019
LAX Public Relations
LAX-it, needed now because of an unprecedented modernization effort to transform the airport, has seen significant improvements and is operating efficiently
(Los Angeles, CA) –Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) announced that as the new LAX-it ride app and taxi pickup lot reaches two weeks since opening, wait times for rides have seen dramatic reductions since the first days of operation and the system is working as intended.
LAX-it was launched because of the construction underway at the airport, which will reduce curb space in the Central Terminal Area (CTA) by 30%, in addition to other traffic impacts. The initial challenges experienced at LAX-it were not uncommon for operational and infrastructure changes of this scale, especially when applied at the second-busiest airport in the country and the No. 1 origin and destination airport in the world. LAWA officials quickly analyzed these challenges and responded by rolling out a series of improvements that have reduced the wait times and enhanced the experience overall for taxi and ride-app passengers and drivers alike.
Since opening on Oct. 29, the LAX-it experience has improved significantly:
- When LAX-it began two weeks ago, wait times for rides reached 45-60 minutes for some passengers during peak times. However, this wait time has dramatically reduced. Wait times over the past eight days have rarely exceeded 10 minutes during peak travel time on high-traffic days, including this past Sunday evening and throughout the Veterans Day holiday on Monday.
- Additionally, the time that guests spend on the LAX-it shuttle has now reached an average trip time of less than 11 minutes, and shuttles consistently arrive every 3 to 5 minutes.
- Drivers are also seeing improvements. Previously, taxi and ride app drivers reported that it could take them as long as 45 minutes to reach LAX-it from holding lots. Now, over the course of the past six days, these times have been reduced to well under 10 minutes on average, with rare observations above 20 minutes at high peak times Sunday night.
These improvements are the result of deliberate and data-led changes that LAWA officials quickly implemented to ensure traveler and driver experiences were as smooth as possible. From minor adjustments to significant changes, officials implemented numerous adjustments to improve LAX-it, including:
- Lot Expansion: Officials expanded the LAX-it lot space by 50%, to ensure sufficient space for ride apps and taxis to pick up passengers.
- Dedicated Queueing Area: In response to chokepoints at key times on Little Century, a new queueing area was introduced over the weekend for the expansion lot, from which Lyft is operating. This area now provides additional lanes for Lyft drivers to prepare for passengers as they pull into the lot, reducing traffic on Little Century.
- Lot Enhancements: Canopies will be installed this week in both the original and expansion lot, to provide better protection from the elements for travelers.
- Signage and Roadway markings: In the first days after the LAX-it launch, it was determined that additional signage was needed for airport guests and drivers alike. New signs were introduced in addition to roadway markings such as lane striping alterations and stanchions.
- Shuttles: It was identified that additional shuttles were needed, and officials quickly increased the number of total shuttles from 20 at the launch, to what is now a fleet of 43. Additionally, a new area was also provided in the LAX-it lot for buses to park when off-duty, to avoid congestion in the bus lane and provide for more efficient off-loading of passengers. Shuttles are being deployed dynamically at those times and locations when they are needed most, and signage has been improved to assist both shuttle drivers and guests in identifying shuttle stops.
- Staffing: Staffing was monitored to account for high-need areas, and more staff were redeployed, including traffic officers and crossing guards at areas of heavy pedestrian activity. Staffing continues to be dynamic to address areas of highest need.
- Commitment to Education: Officials consistently prioritized educational-focused communications for travelers and drivers alike, to ensure understanding of the new process as well as to gather feedback. As changes were implemented, LAWA both worked with taxi and ride app partners and communicated directly with drivers to ensure they were aware of changes. Educational videos on the new LAX-it process were also featured on shuttles and in the terminals.
- Traffic Routes & Lighting: Traffic Routes, including extensions to traffic lights along Sepulveda Boulevard, are being actively monitored and adjusted to account for chokepoints and wait times.
The concept of LAX-it was carefully and systematically engineered and planned for well over a year, and launched with contingency plans ready, including those that are described above, for quick deployment. This data-driven approach led to the determination that LAX-it was the best solution for the airport – given its limited and highly utilized footprint – while the Automated People Mover train, the centerpiece of the modernization effort, is being built.
During that planning, cross-functional teams on the ground at LAWA were responsible for not only assessing the situation at the airport, but also benchmarking against other airports in the country which have undergone similar significant construction projects and/or implemented a centralized pickup location. Heeding the lessons learned from other airports who implemented operational changes of this magnitude, LAWA was poised with contingency plans and a 24-hour task force to make immediate adjustments.
LAX, the fourth-busiest airport in the world and second busiest in the United States, was named a top-10 U.S. airport by SKYTRAX. LAX served more than 87.5 million passengers in 2018 and offers an average of 700 daily nonstop flights to 109 cities in the U.S. and 1,281 weekly nonstop flights to 93 markets in 47 countries on 69 commercial airlines. LAX ranks 10th in the world in air cargo tonnage processed, with more than 2.4 million tons of air cargo. LAX handled 707,883 operations (landings and takeoffs) in 2018.
LAX generated 620,600 jobs in Southern California, with labor income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion, according to an economic study based on 2014 operations. This activity added $6.2 billion to local and state revenues and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues. The study also reported that LAX’s ongoing capital improvement program creates an additional 121,640 annual jobs with labor income of $7.6 billion and economic output of $20.3 billion; $966 million in state and local taxes; and $1.6 billion in federal tax revenues.
LAX was honored as having the “Best Overall Customer Service Program” by Airports Council International-North America; named the “Best Airport for Breastfeeding Moms” by Mamava; selected for the Top 10 “Best of the U.S.’s Big Airports” (Wall Street Journal) and “Most Pet-Friendly Airports in the U.S. (Mental Floss); named the second-most improved airport in the U.S. by JD Power; received an “Innovation Award” from the L.A. Better Business Challenge for its Central Utility Plant; and named a “Business Leader in Air Quality” by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
LAX is also the second-most popular airport in the world to appear on Instagram, according to wego.com. LAX is part of a system of two Southern California airports – along with Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles that receives no funding from the City’s general fund.
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