SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Uber and Lyft report wait times on Sunday nights at San Francisco International Airport have tripled since SFO moved rideshare to its new pickup location.
Passenger pickup is now located at the top of the hourly parking garage. Lyft reports the average wait time the past two Sunday nights has been 28 minutes and Uber reports wait times averaging 24 minutes. By comparison, the average wait time used to be 10 minutes for Lyft and eight minutes for Uber.
Cancellations are also on the rise. Uber reports the cancellation rate used to be 8 percent; for Lyft, it was 6.4 percent. But for the past two Sunday nights, the cancellation rate for Lyft was 30 percent and 28 percent for Uber.
“It was a little unusual that they decided to do it as peak summer travel season was starting,” TravelSkills blogger Chris McGinnis said.
McGinnis points out that SFO had to make a change. When rideshare picked people up Sunday night on the curb, it became a safety concern.
“It was truly a mess, there were safety issues, people couldn’t get out if there was a fire… it was not pleasant prior to the fix now, we have the fix and that’s not pleasant either,” McGinnis said.
SFO has made improvements, such as opening additional lanes for Uber and Lyft to enter the parking garage and improve traffic flow as well as improving signage to make it easier for drivers to navigate.
“We’re currently evaluating additional measures to reduce wait times and traffic backups,” said Doug Yakel, SFO’s public information officer.
In a statement Uber said, “Unfortunately, SFO’s reluctance to heed the calls from riders and drivers to fix its pickup situation in the garage resulted in increased congestion, higher cancellation rates and longer wait times for the third week in a row when compared to before the week before the move. We continue our best efforts to mitigate the impact for riders and drivers and remain hopeful that the airport will reconsider this decision.”
A spokesperson for Lyft says, “As currently configured, it is clear that the garage ramp cannot deliver the great passenger experience expected of Lyft and the SFO Airport. Increased vehicle traffic during peak hours in combination with the loss of Lyft’s eco-friendly Rematch product strongly contribute to increased wait times and congestion in the new TNC pick-up location. Lyft remains committed to evaluating the impacts of the move and alternative solutions with airport leadership.”
McGinnis is more optimistic. “Once everyone gets used to it, it will probably work just fine, but now there’s some growing pains going on.”