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Lyft beats Uber to become first ride-hailing app allowed at LAX

It's a gig economy Christmas miracle

Starting Wednesday at 8AM, Lyft will become the first ride-hailing company approved to pick up and drop off passengers at Los Angeles International Airport, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today. The ride-hailing company with the pink mustache beat its much bigger rival, Uber, to the airport, which handled around 70 million passengers in 2014 and is the world's fifth busiest.

"Tomorrow, we will have ‘Lyft-off' at LAX, giving our passengers what they have been asking for, another safe and convenient way to get to and from the airport," Garcetti said in a statement. He noted that LAX's terminals were undergoing a makeover, which includes a rail link, but in the meantime "passengers deserve access to all available options to ensure they have an excellent experience."

"Tomorrow, we will have ‘Lyft-off' at LAX... "

The Los Angeles City Council approved the license agreement earlier this year, paving the way for transportation network company pick-ups at LAX, as long as they pay the airport $4 per trip. Garcetti's office said that ride-hailing companies that complete the application can being servicing LAX, but a spokesperson for Uber would not say what the status of its application. In the meantime, Lyft is offering $5 to all customers both to and from the airport until New Year's Day.

This isn't the first time Lyft has beaten Uber to a fare-rich airport. In October, the company announced it had become the first ride-hailing company to strike a deal with Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport. Uber won approval there weeks later.

Airports, in general, have proven to be inhospitable places to companies like Uber and Lyft, with their myriad of regulations and special interests. Regular taxi owners have also lobbied to prevent startups from encroaching on their turf. Forty-nine of the 100 busiest airports in the US prohibit private ride-sharing, according to a survey by Blacklane, a Berlin-based limo service.