Photos courtesy of See Jane Go from the rideshare app’s Orange County launch.
With the unanimous approval of the Long Beach City Council a pilot program that would allow transportation network companies to legally operate at Long Beach Airport (LGB) will begin outreach efforts to the community to establish parameters in which drivers from Lyft, Uber and other ridesharing can pick up and drop off travelers looking to catch a ride to and from LGB.
A final vote to approve the pilot program is expected to come back to the council floor in 90 days. If approved, the new nine-month pilot program will allow companies like Uber, Lyft and the recently launched See Jane Go to pick up and drop off passengers at LGB for a $3 fee. Rideshare companies were previously only allowed to drop off passengers at LGB, as the city has control over which taxi companies are allowed access to pick up passengers from its facilities.
The council’s vote to advance the program could put the city in line with several other larger municipalities that had previously hammered out deals with ride share companies to allow pick-ups and drop offs, including Los Angeles and San Diego. According to a staff report, fees at airports statewide range from $2.25 and $4.00, putting Long Beach near the middle in terms of fees charged to drivers.
During the pilot program ride share companies will be allowed to operate while data is collected by the city to help analyze their impact at the airport. Among the things to be studied are traffic flow analysis, trip counts and the appropriateness of fees.
In May of last year the council eased restrictions on Long Beach Yellow Cab (LBYC) in an effort to allow them to be more competitive with the likes of Uber and Lyft by permitting LBYC to use promotional fares and discounts similar to the ones implemented in the ridesharing economy.
LBYC is subject to the city’s municipal code and was granted exclusive license to operate as the city’s sole taxi service provider in September 1998. Previous to that vote, rideshare companies’ ability to use price surging and their lower per-mile charges to customers had many in the taxi industry staring down an existential threat as millennials continue to flock to the more tech-driven companies like Uber and Lyft.
Implementation of the pilot-program could occur in early 2017.
[Editors note: The story originally stated that the city council voted to approve the rideshare pilot program, it voted to gather public input and bring the item back before the city council in 90 days. The new story reflects those changes.]