After months of complaints about the long walk to Uber and Lyft pickup zones at Hartsfield-Jackson International, airport officials plan to move one of the pickup areas closer to the terminal.
“It will be better,” pledged Hartsfield-Jackson general manager John Selden.
Getting to the new pickup zone will still require exiting through the lower level of Terminal North, which serves carriers other than Delta Air Lines. Uber and Lyft users will walk across the roadway to a location beyond the curbside. But the new pickup area will require a shorter walk. The new pickup zone is located underneath the MARTA tracks just outside the Terminal North parking deck.
Uber and Lyft riders using the Terminal South pickup area will still have to endure long walks. That terminal curbside canopy is under construction and is expected to last about a year more. At the international terminal, Uber and Lyft passengers are picked up at the curbside.
The increased popularity of Uber and Lyft for travelers has prompted a transformation in ground transportation management at airports around the country and the world.
At Hartsfield-Jackson, taxis are losing market share, while as many as 8,000 passengers a day use Uber and Lyft.
But many travelers cried foul after Uber and Lyft pickups were moved to the remote zones last year to prepare for construction of massive curbside canopies. Taxis, meanwhile, still pick up passengers at the curbside.
Since the airport opened the current Uber and Lyft pickup zones, some have complained about the time required to walk out the economy parking lot to get picked up by their drivers, and long waits and congestion during busy periods.
“It’s such a hassle,” said Lonny Kole, a traveler who lives in Peachtree Corners. “In my comings and goings, I’ve seen different setups, and Atlanta’s is really crummy for when you’re coming back from a trip.”
“Certainly we’re going to welcome not having to walk as far,” Kole said.
The Terminal North curbside canopy is nearing completion, and the airport is moving the Terminal North pickup zone not just to shorten the walk, but also because it is making way for construction of an expansion of Concourse T. Hartsfield-Jackson plans to add five gates to the north end of Concourse T, with an extension that will curve slightly to the west to avoid interfering with a runway protection zone.
The new Concourse T extension will also displace some parking, and to make up for it and other lost parking spaces due to construction, the airport is building an ATL West parking deck next to the Georgia International Convention Center, reachable by SkyTrain.
Hartsfield-Jackson is also relocating some other airport infrastructure in the area to clear room for the additional T gates.