(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

OK, it was­n’t that bad. I had been dread­ing it. I trav­el a lot for work and live 40 miles from Los Ange­les Inter­na­tion­al Air­port, aka LAX. 40 miles can trans­late any­where between 40 min­utes to two hours to dri­ve to either des­ti­na­tion. Life revolves around traf­fic in Los Ange­les. Often, depend­ing on the length of my trip, I will order a ride from one of the two apps, Lyft or Uber, depend­ing on which is less expen­sive at the time of my request.

But the pow­ers that be announced: all that easy order, wait and go stuff was about to change. There would now be shut­tles involved. Shut­tles that you must wait for at the air­port after you’ve got­ten your lug­gage, gone through cus­toms and final­ly arrived in your home city. It all seemed exhaust­ing and unfair­ly punitive.

Whyyyyyy???? Why did there have to be an extra step? I kept think­ing as the date of imple­men­ta­tion drew steadi­ly clos­er. What did I do to deserve this? It was­n’t faaaaair!


Today was that day. I land­ed after a short flight from a trip to the Los Cabos area. I flew through cus­toms because of my Glob­al Entry card. Then, I went out­side to see if I could find this myth­i­cal shut­tle that would be the new pain of my existence.

Pre­vi­ous­ly, to order an Uber or Lyft, you’d have to take an esca­la­tor back upstairs to the depar­tures area on lev­el two after walk­ing off the plane on lev­el one. So, that’s what I did. As I lugged my over­filled suit­case up the esca­la­tor, like nor­mal, I silent­ly cursed this new devel­op­ment. Once I arrived on the side­walk, I stopped a lady with a navy blue out­fit and an air­port badge to ask if she knew where this LAX-it shut­tle stop was. She was so nice, it made me feel guilty for feel­ing incon­ve­nienced. She said I’d have to go back down. That the shut­tle picks up right where you’d come out of the ter­mi­nal after retriev­ing your lug­gage. Oh. That’s nice. She walked me over to the esca­la­tor that would take me back down­stairs and told me to look for one of the green posts that had the LAX-it ban­ner around it. She said they’re all over the place. I thanked her and went back down. I spot­ted the green sign wrapped around a cement pil­lar right away and saw the line-up of oth­er shut­tles pulling up to the curb to pick up pas­sen­gers bound for des­ti­na­tions dis­played on the LED indi­ca­tors above the dri­ver. Before I blinked, a green bus match­ing the col­or of the LAX-it sign pulled up behind the sec­ond bus. I walked over and the dri­ver helped me lift my suit­case into the trans­port. I took my seat with only one oth­er pas­sen­ger (thank you Glob­al Entry) and noticed how new the bus smelled. I had­n’t real­ized they’d cre­at­ed this whole new trans­porta­tion sys­tem just for this new incon­ve­nience. But, it was nice not hav­ing to stand out in the cold, wait­ing for my dri­ver to make his way around the con­gest­ed air­port loop.

The shut­tle stops at only one oth­er ter­mi­nal before arriv­ing at the park­ing lot, less than five min­utes after I had board­ed. As my lug­gage hit the side­walk, I thought I should order my car before the crush of oth­er pas­sen­gers caught up.


As soon as I got off the shut­tle, I ordered a car from the app. The process of order­ing was the same but instead of giv­ing me the name of the dri­ver and what mod­el car she’d arrive in, the app gave me a code and said to show it to the dri­ver when I got to the car.

Long lines of rope along the walk­ways sep­a­rat­ed rid­ers into their pre­ferred dri­ving com­pa­nies, taxis, Lyfts or Ubers. Each was assigned a “zone” or the area where those cars would be lined up.

When I arrived in the Lyft zones (5, 6 and 7), one of the assis­tants, in a hot pink vest, asked if I had my code. I told her I did and she indi­cat­ed I should keep walk­ing to the short line of peo­ple walk­ing slow­ly toward the line of cars. There was no need to wait. This was a def­i­nite improvement.

And let me just say, these ride assis­tants, in their hot pink attire, were beyond polite. It was like being served by employ­ees of a five-star hotel, they were all exceed­ing­ly polite and helpful.

I shuf­fled slow­ly, for about three min­utes, before reach­ing the front of the line and was assigned one of the 10 num­bers at the curb, also in hot pink, they refer to as zones. As my car pulled up, I leaned into the win­dow and showed the dri­ver my code. He entered it into the phone attached to his dash­board and boom, my address came up on his app, link­ing our ride.

It was actu­al­ly much eas­i­er. I did­n’t have to wait on a cold side­walk, in the dark void between ter­mi­nals, with smok­ers blow­ing their mess­es into my space. I did­n’t have to keep check­ing my app to see how far my dri­ver had got­ten in the ring of traf­fic cir­cling the air­port. I was in my Lyft car lick­i­ty split and shar­ing my expe­ri­ence about the new LAX-it sys­tem with my read­ers on the way home.