It used to be said of New York that those who "made it" there could make it anywhere. The same might be said of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the big hot mess through which 70 million travelers trudge annually.
And now Uber has made it there.
Los Angeles yesterday became the biggest city in the nation to open its airport to Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing companies, allowing them to operate alongside cabs.
There's no rail line to LAX, bus service is slow and hard to figure out, and limos -- though plentiful -- are expensive. It seems a perfect fit for the Ubers of the world, though that didn't stop critics from imploring and beseeching the LA City Council to hold back the tide.
Cab drivers said allowing Uber onto the grounds of the West Coast's busiest airport would drive them into the history books. There were suggestions that ride-hailing drivers are dangerous, which brought hoots from taxi passengers.
Clean and friendly
Uber fans said that the drivers are friendly, the cars clean, and, not incidentally, a lot cheaper. A cab ride from LAX to downtown LA is about $50, not including tip. Uber or Lyft will charge you about $30, depending on traffic.
Consumers already take Uber and Lyft to the airport, but to get home, they're stuck with cabs, limos, shuttles, or the tender mercies of friends. The council's action will, in a few weeks, make it possible to summon up an Uber or Lyft ride home from LAX.
Opponents, chiefly the cab companies and their lobbyists, will be watching and ready to pounce at the first sign of trouble, but the ride-hailing services are so popular with consumers that political observers say it will be nearly impossible to deep-six them once they've become entrenched.