Lyft Operating at McCarran International Airport
Yesterday afternoon Lyft finally got the clearance to operate at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. They have been operating within Las Vegas for just over a month, but it took time for the airport to build the infrastructure and for the county to create regulations. That is done and Lyft is now open for business. I am sure Uber will follow shortly.
Uber & Lyft will both operate under strict rules while at the airport. There will be a surcharge added to your bill and they can only pickup passengers in specific areas. I was able to obtain some helpful information regarding these rules & thought I would create a little guide to help on your next arrival.
Where Uber & Lyft Can Pick You Up
If you call a Lyft (or Uber when they begin) then you will need to meet the driver at one of these two specific areas depending on the terminal you arrive in. I am sure this can be quite simple or very complicated depending on how busy the airport is and how many passengers are trying to find their driver. “Ride share” signs are apparently being installed to direct passengers to these pickup areas. I didn’t see any installed yet, but this should get easier as time goes on.
Quick local tip: If you don’t have baggage and arrive in the Terminal 1 “D” gates, you can take the red line to Terminal 3 which is a lot less crowded.
Terminal 1 Pickup Area: Level 2M of the Public Parking Garage
Terminal 3 Pickup Area: Valet level of the parking garage. (2nd story.)
Rules for Pickups & Drop Offs
The airport has put in place a number of strict rules for pickups and drop offs. Among them are:
- Passengers cannot be picked up at Arrivals.
- Drivers cannot wait in an area outside of the staging lot for you if you are delayed.
- Passengers can be dropped off at the departures area for their airline.
- Drivers must be in the staging lot to get a request for a ride. This means that they should always be able to meet you within 4-5 minutes, making this a very convenient option.
- Drivers cannot solicit passengers or pickup people outside of the ridesharing app.
- Drivers cannot accept cash from passengers.
My Pickup Experience
I arrived at McCarran at about 8pm last night on American Airlines. Like I mentioned above, I took the red line from the “D” gates to Terminal 3, which was almost abandoned at this time of night. Once I cleared baggage claim I popped open the Lyft app and requested a ride. The driver quickly called me and explained that I needed to go to the valet level.
Neither he nor I knew exactly where that was (this was his very first airport pickup), but I found the area at the same time he pulled up! We talked a bit as he drove me to the Hyatt Place to pickup my car. My key takeaways from the conversation were that about 75% of drivers are working for both Uber & Lyft and that there are a TON of drivers on the streets in Vegas now.
When you compare the cost of Uber & Lyft with what taxis charge, you quickly see they aren’t much cheaper at all. In the example of my ride, the Lyft cost $13.34. Using the information below, I believe a taxi would have been about $13.50. Let’s compare the various charges between Vegas taxis and Uber/Lyft.
- Uber/Lyft: $2.40
- Taxi $3.30
Cost Per Mile
- Uber/Lyft: $1.85
- Taxi: $2.60
Cost Per Minute
- Uber/Lyft: $.30 (cost even when vehicle is moving.)
- Taxi: $.50 (only when below 8-12 MPH)
Airport Pickup Fee
- Uber/Lyft: $2.45
- Taxi: $1.80
- Taxi: Debit/Credit $3
- Lyft: Trust & Safety $1.55
- Uber: Safe Rides Fee $1.00
Lyft is now operating at McCarran International Airport with Uber soon to follow. While ridesharing will be a more convenient way to get around, it isn’t cheap in Vegas. Prices are very similar to what you will get with a taxi, which means with surges you could be paying a whole lot more! Even so, more competition is a good thing and hopefully this will drive prices down in the end.
If you have never used Uber or Lyft, you can get $20 off your first ride by using someone’s referral. Every user has one and you can find mine here if you are interested.
Do you plan to use Uber/Lyft from the airport on your next Vegas trip? Let me know in the comments!