Jason Van Norman waited for his rideshare driver outside Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport late Friday morning, watching the slow crawl of traffic that was steadily pushing back his expected arrival time back home in Woodland Hills.

“Usually in the early mornings it’s no biggie,” he said. “This is probably the worst I’ve seen it.”

The 43-year-old said he travels about three times per month from the airport – the second busiest in the country. He usually times his rides and flights to avoid such heavy traffic periods.

Airport officials hope to ease some of that congestion with the opening of LAX-it, a centralized area just east of Terminal 1 where rideshare customers will link up with drivers for a quick exit from the airport.

The new service, which is scheduled to start Oct. 29, will bring an end to curbside pickups by ride-hailing and taxi services in the central terminal area. Officials estimate about 18,000 people will use the service each day.

Currently, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft pick up customers from terminals on the upper level.

The opening of the rideshare lot, at the corner of World Way and Sky Way, continues an effort by officials to combat traffic congestion as passenger volume at the airport increased from 63.7 million in 2012 to 87.5 million in 2018, officials said.

LAX-it will take approximately 15 percent of vehicles out of the central terminal area, officials said. Currently, airport officials estimate between 90,000 and 100,000 vehicles pass through the horseshoe shaped roadway every day.

The program will instead use more than 30 new shuttle buses, which will operate in a dedicated lane to pick up customers from the terminal and shuttle them to the rideshare lot.

Keith Wilschetz, deputy executive director for operations and emergency management with Los Angeles World Airports said travelers can order their pickup while at the baggage claim and their ride would be waiting when they reach the LAX-it lot.

The shuttles would stop at terminals every 3 to 5 minutes. The shuttle should take 15 minutes or less to take customers to the lot, depending on where they’re picked up, Wilschetz said.

The lot is less than a 20 minute walk from all terminals, officials said.

The lot contains four lanes, two of which will be dedicated to Uber drivers, one to Lyft and one for taxi cabs according to a diagram provided by officials.

Once they are in their ride, it’s a straight shot to Sepulveda Boulevard, Wilschetz said.

“It will be fast and it will be reliable,” Wilschetz said. “Those are two words you don’t often hear when people describe our central terminal area. That will change at the end of this month.”

Van Norman wasn’t sure how much the system would help with congestion at the airport, but knows that people can sometimes get stuck for long periods of time. On Friday, he noted his driver was half a mile away and it was still going to take the driver 10 minutes to get to his location.

“It’s an attempt to fix something that’s been broken,” he said. “I think it’s good they’re trying to do something.”

Officials said LAX-it is a temporary fix for the airport until 2023, when construction on a $4.9 billion, 2.25-mile people-mover project is scheduled to be completed.

But construction on that four-year project is anticipated to take away 30 percent of inner-lane curb space currently used for pick-up and drop-off at the airport, adding to the traffic woes already experienced in the central terminal area, Wilschetz said.

“By 2022, the average summer day is going to be exactly the same as the day before Thanksgiving,” he said.

The changes only affect pick-ups from the airport. Rideshare drivers will continue to drop off customers through the central terminal area.

It took officials about six months to turn the airport’s Park N’ Fly parking lot into LAX-it, which has four lanes for taxi cabs and rideshare vehicles alike. The lot also includes restrooms, WiFi, electronic charging stations and benches and tables underneath green umbrellas. Officials said they plan to offer food trucks for those waiting on their drivers.

“We don’t want this to be just a transportation hub,” Wilschetz said. “We want to make it a place people can enjoy.”

But others at the airport Friday weren’t sure how the new service would affect times.

Esra Aydar, 40, of Redondo Beach, was skeptical that the shuttle bus service would be time-saving.

She said she usually is out of the airport in about 10 minutes after ordering an Uber or Lyft. The extra shuttle service would add to that time and would add to the stress of families with young children and extra luggage.

“It’s a lot of work,” she said. “And you’re looking at 20 minutes or so to get to the lot. That’s not very efficient.”

Others were concerned about the size of the LAX-it lot. With four lanes, Tony Rodriguez of Costa Mesa wondered if that area might still get backed up.

“I think as an idea it’s great, but in practice I’m not so sure,” Rodriguez, 60, said. “Up here, drivers can pick up passengers and then maneuver between four lanes to get out. Down there, it could get congested.”

Wilshetz acknowledged that airport officials understand some may be wary of the changes, but asked the public to give it a chance.

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