SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KPIX) — After a month of congestion on the southern end of San Francisco International Airport, a new parking lot has been opened in hopes of ending the gridlock. As for whether or not it’s going to work, that will take some time to determine.
“They don’t give me the right instructions,” said one ride-hailing driver upon arriving at SFO’s new TNC waiting lot. “I tried to get over here but I don’t see the signal so I might go back to Lot 1 and 2 back in Millbrae.”
There was some confusion among drivers, even some last-minute lane striping by airport crews, but, as of 9 o’clock Friday morning, SFO had officially opened its northern rideshare lot. Getting all of the drivers up to speed is still a work in progress.
“I know that’s probably gonna take a couple days for all the drivers to get used to the new location,” said Doug Yakel, spokesperson for SFO. “They’ll work that into their own routines but ultimately how we think this is going to help especially in the south side of the airport where we’ve been hearing about these congestion issues on Millbrae Avenue.”
Millbrae Avenue was just one of the streets on the southern end of the airport swamped by TNC traffic which could not fit into the provided waiting lots there. Friday, the streets around those southern lots were virtually traffic-free and, at the new northern lot, there were plenty of pleased drivers.
“A lot better,” said a driver named Veronica. “When you get here it’s empty so you can get inside. You don’t have to be going around and around in the line.”
Some drivers said they had a little trouble finding the new TNC waiting area. Others may not know about it at all.
“Most of the people don’t know about it,” Veronica said. “Uber didn’t let us know. I think Lyft, they did but Uber, no.”
The airport says it is working on that and working to get the new lot listed on navigation systems like Google Maps and Waze so it’s easier to find. This was a light travel day at SFO so it was not a grueling test of the new system.
“It could be related to the holidays little bit down today traffic may be a little bit down today,” Yakel said. “But ultimately this new lot that just opened this morning more than doubles the capacity that we will have for Uber and Lyft drivers to pre-stage their vehicles. So we think it will really help a lot on both ends of the airport.”
The cost of setting up and operating the new lot comes from fees paid by TNC companies to access the airport. Traditional taxi cabs can also be accessed at the curb on the airport’s arrival level.