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Would LAX Travelers Take Public Transit To Cut Security Lines? LA Leaders Want To Find Out

Buses pick up arriving travelers at LAX as people travel to Thanksgiving holiday destinations on Nov. 26, 2014. (David McNew/Getty Images)
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L.A. leaders are floating a new plan to get people to take public transit to Los Angeles International Airport: allow bus and (eventually) rail riders to cut to the front of TSA security lines.

The L.A. City Council approved a motion this week calling on Los Angeles World Airports, which runs LAX, to consider a program to allow public transit riders priority at security checkpoints. That would potentially include people who take Metro rail and buses, the LAX Flyaway Bus, other municipal transit providers, or private bus services, according to the motion filed by Councilman Bob Blumenfield.

The intertwined goal is to reduce car traffic and greenhouse gas emissions by boosting regional transit ridership -- which has plummeted in recent years.

"We're L.A. -- we are the big dog of airports and we have a major congestion problem," Blumenfield said during an interview on KPCC's AirTalk this week. "It would have tremendous benefits for us here in Los Angeles to do something that incentivizes people to get out of their cars and use public transit when they go to the airport."

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The much-anticipated LAX People Mover won't be moving people until at least 2023. (Courtesy Los Angeles World Airports)

Metro's Crenshaw/LAX Line is expected to open this summer (it was initially set to open last fall). The rail line won't go directly to the airport, but a shuttle service is expected to fill the gap until the much-anticipated People Mover is completed (it won't be moving people until at least 2023).

But Blumenfield said he doesn't want to wait on those projects before putting a program in place when bus services -- like the Flyaway Bus -- exist right now.

"We want to encourage all of those transit options -- not just the rail option," he said.

Blumenfield pointed to Logan International Airport in Boston, which launched a similar incentive for transit riders last May. Ridership on one bus line to the airport more than doubled in the first four months of the program, according to officials.

LAX officials took one step to reduce congestion last year when they moved rideshare and taxi pick-ups to a separate lot away from the terminals, which had a rough start and sparked protests by taxi drivers.


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