Airports Take A Hit As Uber And Lyft Rise In Popularity

Many are taking advantage of services like Uber and Lyft to avoid the stress of airports.

Person looks at Uber app on their smartphone.
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Many are taking advantage of services like Uber and Lyft to avoid the stress of airports.

Uber, Lyft, and other similar transportation services are transforming the way people are traveling this holiday season. If you’ve had to take a flight recently, your first thought upon touching down was likely how to get out of the airport as quickly as possible. In the past, taking a cab was most people’s best option. That is, if they didn’t want to opt for public transportation. Now, Uber and Lyft is becoming the most popular way to escape the chaos of major airports. This is likely due to the convenience that these types of services offer. No more standing out in unpleasant weather trying to hail a cab. With this new technology, you can have a driver waiting to pick you up the minute you land. However, according to Wired, this new trend is causing a multitude of issues for airports.

The biggest problem airports are facing as a result of these services is curbside traffic. Uber and Lyft drivers line the curb waiting for their passengers, usually trying to get in and out as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, hundreds of riders wander down the line pulling luggage behind them while they search for their driver. This causes mass chaos and confusion and poses a problem for airport parking valet services. Parking lot valet officers are frustrated as many abandon their services to take advantage of a more convenient option.

In San Francisco, services like Uber and Lyft make up nearly 70 percent of commercial ground transportation, adding up to a whopping 880,000 trips a month. Major airports are seeing their parking revenues take a steep drop, as people are no longer utilizing their parking services. Now airports are attempting to work with these new driver services to figure out how to remedy the problem.

American Association of Airport Executives is saying that these ride-hail companies have been willing to cooperate with airports to provide their data and consider ways to improve traffic issues. Some airports are considering designating a specific section of their parking lots to solely driver pickup for these types of services. This would make life easier on drivers who would likely have a shorter wait for their passengers and limit confusion for passengers who might struggle to find their car among all the chaos. It would also keep Uber and Lyft from interfering with other traffic, such as public bus systems. “Ride-hail companies are happy to provide data on airports, they just want to make sure it’s standard,” says Jared Pierce, the director of AAAE’s services division.