How Airport Parking Facilities Can Compete With Ride Sharing Apps

Ride sharing apps are eroding parking revenue at 30+ of the top airports nationally, and are quickly gaining market share. How can airport and off-airport parking operators compete with these transportation powerhouses?



Ride Sharing Apps Are Spending on Airport Advertising

Apps like Uber and Lyft are aggressively advertising to travelers at airports to encourage them to “ride” rather than drive and park.

This Lyft ad is offering travelers $50 not to park next time they go to O’Hare Airport in Chicago.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 3.08.45 PM

Uber is an official partner of American Airlines. When travelers purchase American Airlines tickets, they are prompted to set a phone reminder to get an Uber when they land. American Airlines passengers are also being shown Uber ads like these right after they land:

uber ad screen

These Uber ads offer travelers their first ride to the airport for $20 off – which will often end up being free.

uber airplane ad

Many airports now have designated ride share pickup areas to make it even easier for travelers to find their Lyft and Uber drivers.


To top it off, Lyft is running their first national television campaign to “convince Americans that owning a car sucks.” If people don’t own cars in the first place, how will they park at the airport?

Watch the new Lyft TV ad here:


The Future Is Not as Bleak as It Seems for Airport Parking

Despite the huge efforts of ride sharing companies to cannibalize the airport parking business, parking companies still have a leg up when it comes to one key factor: price.

Aren’t travelers getting a better deal when they use a ride sharing app than when they drive and park at the airport?

That’s what ride sharing companies would like us to think, but it’s not always the case.


Ride Sharing vs. Parking: Cost Comparison for Airports

Parking at the airport is often more cost-effective than using a ride sharing app. The chart below shows the situations when it’s cheaper to ride share and when it’s cheaper to park at LAX Airport in Los Angeles. I think you’ll find the results surprising.

It is more cost-effective to park at LAX than to ride share 80% of the time. If you’re going away for under 5 days, it always makes sense to drive and park.

Distance from the airport also plays a big role in the affordability of ride sharing. Travelers who live over 20 miles from LAX should always drive and park themselves rather than using a ride sharing app.

The data above doesn’t even take into account two major costs of ride sharing: surge pricing and vehicle upgrades. Many people choose to take ‘XL’ vehicles to the airport if they’re traveling with a family or large luggage. Here is the same cost comparison data for LAX with and XL ride share vehicle:

If you were planning on taking an XL ride share to LAX, think again. It’s cheaper to park at the airport 93% of the time in this scenario.

See How Parking at Your Airport Matches Up Against Ride Sharing

We compiled this same data for 25 airport locations around the country and are sharing it with the industry today. We published this spreadsheet, so you can play around with the data yourself.

Toggle between:

  • Airports
  • Ride Share vs. Ride Share XL
  • Surge Pricing Multiplier

You can also request a customized version of this data with your own rates or a PDF of the graph for your airport on our airport resources page.


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