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Curbing Congestion: Rideshares Introduce New Processes at PDX

Anyone who’s flown into PDX on a Sunday evening and thought they would quickly grab a rideshare has probably experienced the curbside confusion—riders scan the incoming cars, traversing the curb length to find their ride; drivers search for their rider while avoiding travelers lugging suitcases darting in and out of cars.

During peak times, PDX can see more than 400 rideshare pickups per hour. The airport needed a solution to make this a better experience for travelers. New processes now in place at the rideshare pick-up location aim to lower wait times, decrease curbside congestion and increase customer satisfaction.

The pick-up location at PDX hasn’t changed, travelers still connect with their rideshare on the baggage claim level, Island 2. The rideshare companies are now separated by brand on a side of Island 2: Uber and Wingz are using the side closest to the parking garage and Lyft is using the side closest to the terminal building. 

Further, these companies offer a process to make connecting riders and drivers faster and easier. 

Uber launched PIN technology, their process to more quickly connect UberX riders and their drivers. PDX is the first airport in the U.S. to pilot this technology in partnership with Uber.  Previously, Uber used PIN at high-volume events, signature venues and festivals around the world. 

PIN is a simple process. Travelers request an UberX ride, receive a one-time code, and enter the line at the pick-up location. When they reach the front of the line, they show their code to the driver and upon validation, start the trip. Riders can continue using all other Uber products for pick-ups as they normally would at PDX, including UberPOOL, Uber XL and more.

"Travel doesn't need to be frustrating--that's why Uber and PDX are making it easier to get a ride more quickly without adding congestion," said Marcus Womack, Head of Global Airports Products at Uber. "We're thrilled to be first to make this unique U.S. airport pilot available, working hand-in-hand with PDX to deliver an experience that puts travelers and Uber riders top of mind.”

Lyft will offer travelers a new code-based pick-up service aimed at improving the pick-up experience. PDX is the second airport where this process will be used. 

With Lyft, travelers request their ride and are given a code. When the passenger arrives at the curb, they show the code to the next available driver and off they go. 

“Lyft is committed to improving people’s lives with the best possible transportation. We are grateful for the partnership with Portland International Airport that allowed us to make this happen,” said Bakari Brock, Senior Director of City Partnerships at Lyft. “We are excited to partner with additional airports to expand this improved curbside experience.”

Both companies are testing their processes at PDX during the week of May 13 with full implementation expected by May 20. 

Initially intended as pilot projects, provided the efforts decrease wait time and congestion and increase travelers’ satisfaction, they are likely to remain fixtures at the airport.  

Last summer, PDX served nearly 5.8 million passengers from June through August. Travel volumes have continued to increase and this summer the airport expects to set new travel records. In 2018, PDX set an all-time passenger record—19.8 million travelers. While not even halfway through the year, the airport is on track to surpass that record for 2019.


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