Last month it seemed like all the barriers had been cleared for Uber and Lyft to begin serving my home airport of Los Angeles International, but Rome was not built in a day and we’re going to have to wait a little longer for Uber at LAX.
The Board of Airport Commissioners approved Uber on July 16, 2015, but the LA City Council has just vetoed that approval. The vote was 11-2, proving the taxi unions still have a great deal of clout in LA. The Council is worried about “whether the ride-hailing services’ driver background checks, which do not include a fingerprint scan, are effective, and whether drivers treat all passengers equally.”
“I could not care less if the vehicle picking up passengers has a checkered paint job or a pink mustache or numbers on the back,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian. “But it’s our responsibility to make sure that every person is safe and is treated with dignity.”
I know Krekorian…he used to be my Assemblyman and he’s a nice guy. But he’s totally wrong here. The gall of questioning whether Uber and Lyft “drivers treat all passengers equally” in light of the taxi mafia at LAX is astounding.
I get it, I get it. Taxis are forced by law to take everyone — even those with disabilities — and Uber and Lyft are not…for now. But to me Krekorian is complaining about the splash while ignoring the tsunami.
Have you ever dealt with a LA taxi? I’ve experienced the way meters are fixed, the way drivers are nasty, and the way cars are dirty. This is an undeniable reality and this is what Krekorian should be focused on.
It is one thing to have comprehensive consumer protections and strict safety laws on the books, it is quite another to see that they are enforced. Over and over, in LA and in cities around the world, I’ve observed the following: dishonest, dirty, expensive cab drivers versus clean, honest, inexpensive Uber drivers. That’s the reality.
The Council’s 11-2 vote to weigh in on the Board of Airport Commissioners’ decision, which could open LAX to Uber, will prompt a 20-day period for members to discuss the regulations in committee. They will then have the option to approve the permit process as is or send it back to airport officials for further changes.
Bottom line, we likely won’t see Uber at LAX until at least September. That’s terrible news for travelers.