NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Flying into LaGuardia Airport is leading passengers to an unpleasant trip home.
On Wednesday, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner exposed major issues popping up as the airport undergoes construction.
On Thursday, she wanted to get the issues addressed by one of LaGuardia’s biggest supporters – Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
You could feel the frustration from flight passengers landing at LaGuardia the Sunday after July 4th.
“Four drivers cancelled on me. Two drivers just stopped outside, didn’t even move. So a total of six cars, 45 minutes, nobody showed up,” John Santorelli said.
Over and over CBS2 saw backed up roads, leading ride share drivers to cancel on passengers waiting in the Terminal B parking garage.
CBS2 didn’t see any police directing traffic and Port Authority police confirm it’s an open invitation for aggressive hustlers.
Just months ago, Gov. Cuomo cut the ribbon at Terminal B, applauding the $8 billion transformation. It’s the first new airport built in the United States in 25 years.
“This for us is a dream coming to life,” Cuomo said.
But for now – it’s a nightmare. CBS2 tried to ask the governor if he would consider sending New York State Troopers to help manage the traffic flow and the confirmed increase in aggressive hustlers.
CBS2 requested to speak with the governor at a press conference he held several hours away and also requested to speak with him on the phone or even by email.
A spokesperson repeatedly denied CBS2’s requests and referred all concerns to the Port Authority.
On Wednesday, top brass at the Port Authority police told Lisa Rozner “we’re going to hold traffic where we can control it to keep these key intersections open, otherwise no one can come into the airport,” David Ehrenberg said.
On Thursday, Rozner went on a ride with a Lyft driver to do a pickup.
“So you have six lanes coming into one,” Nabi Israfil explained.
“This is the total extent of police presence right here at the merge – he’s not helping traffic, he’s just witnessing traffic. He’s not involved in any of the flow,” the driver continued.
“They really need people who know how to direct traffic properly to keep the flow going and that’s the problem they don’t,” Michelle Dottin from Uber and the Independent Drivers Guild added.
“It’s chaos every time they get something right over here it lasts about two days,” limo driver Joe Foresta said.
To make matters worse, the portable bathrooms available for drivers seem to be stinking up the area where they usually have to wait at least an hour.
The Port Authority is defiantly standing by its strategy for ride share pick-ups and claims it’s reduced congestion and allowed customers to exit the airport more quickly.
They released the following statement regarding the ongoing problems at LaGuardia:
“Building an entirely new $8 billion airport while maintaining full operations at the existing airport with record-breaking passenger volumes presents an assortment of difficult challenges, particularly traffic management. To relieve traffic stress on the airport’s roadway network, we are staging for-hire vehicles for Terminal B in the new parking garage, which has around-the-clock customer service staff, enhanced lighting, and improved cell service. As for-hire vehicles continue to grow in volume, staging those drivers in static locations like parking garages is an emerging best practice at airports around the country. Port Authority staff continually monitor the traffic flow of for-hire vehicles in and out of the garage, and this staging strategy has reduced overall congestion and allowed customers to exit airport property more quickly. For passengers who prefer taxi cabs, the Port Authority is providing frequent shuttles to a temporary taxi stand located closer to Manhattan that ensures traffic across the airport can move more freely than it would with hundreds of additional vehicles per hour coming to the frontage during peak construction.”