MILLBRAE (KPIX 5) — After a month of gridlock and a lot of complaints, San Francisco International Airport is about to tinker with its rideshare pick-up strategy again.
Officials have a new plan they hope will ease the traffic around SFO caused by the crush of Uber and Lyft drivers picking up arriving domestic passengers that has been filling a congested area on East Millbrae Avenue
“I’m really disappointed by the way SFO is handling the traffic here,” said one Uber driver who did not want to be named. “It’s so congested.”
“It’s terrible,” said another driver. “It’s horrible. It goes all the way back to the freeway.”
That driver was talking about a line of traffic that stretches back over Highway 101. There’s more traffic over on the Old Bayshore Highway.
The town of Millbrae, an innocent bystander in the battle over how to manage rideshare traffic at SFO, is dealing with the brunt of the traffic problems.
“Yeah, so we’ve gotten complaints at the police bureau, and I know the city manager’s office, and even our electeds have been fielding complaints about this for the last month,” said Captain Paul Kunkel of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
The entirely obvious problem is that all Transportation Network Companies or TCN traffic is supposed to cue for pickups in an overwhelmed lot on the south side of the airport. With nowhere near enough space, the surrounding streets have effectively become the satellite lot.
“It takes about 30 or 40 minutes, just to get in the lot,” said one driver, pointing to the backup behind him.
But late Wednesday, word surfaced of a possible solution. SFO has agreed to open 244 new parking spaces for TNC drivers. That’s more than double the size of the current lot.
Perhaps more importantly, the new lot is on the north side of the airport, hopefully solving the existing bottleneck.
“We’re going to get things out via social media go to to the city, and SFO is doing the same,” said Captain Kunkel. “And we’re reaching out directly to companies like Uber and Lyft to get the word out to them that there’s this extra parking space available, so they don’t all have to catch you on the southside off of Millbrae Avenue.”
Officials have got a day to get the word out. The new lot is set to open Friday morning at 9 a.m., so there will be at least one more day of this traffic in Millbrae.
“Our hope is that this major tweak on behalf of SFO will actually make a big difference and hopefully solve our problem,” Kunkel explained.
Thursday, the July 4th holiday, is not expected to be a particularly busy day at SFO. Higher traffic is expected Sunday.