Skift Take

This is yet another casualty of the Uber and Lyft era. Other airport shuttle services will likely be next.

SuperShuttle, the decades-old airport shuttle service that operates at airports around the world, will cease operations by the end of the year.

In a franchisee letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times this week, SuperShuttle stated it would continue to pick up and transport passengers until December 31, 2019. The company currently services 80 airports both in the U.S. and internationally, but has struggled in recent years as Uber and Lyft have become more predominant at airports.

The company started in 1983 and originally only operated at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Familiar for its blue and yellow vans, it soon expanded all across the U.S., coming to airports in over 30 states, from big hubs like John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to smaller locations such as Providence, Rhode Island’s Green Airport.

The shuttle service also spread to key locations around the world, servicing airports in Canada, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific.

In the past few weeks, however, the shuttle company has begun to shut down operations in certain airports, including Phoenix, Burbank, Baltimore, and Minneapolis. As ridehailing apps have increasingly become the preferred choice of travelers, the market share of airport shuttle services — long the mainstay of intra-airport transportation — has taken a heavy hit.

An email from SuperShuttle to a customer, explaining that the company was closing operations in Washington, D.C.

The number of shared van rides at LAX dropped by two-thirds in the first half of 2019 as compared to 2016, according to an article by the Los Angeles Times, citing Los Angeles city data. In the same time period, Uber and Lyft rides more than doubled.

SuperShuttle could not be reached for comment.

When it comes to business travelers, this trend is even more pronounced. A recent Certify report found that Uber rides are now the most frequently expensed item on business trips. Uber receipts made up nearly 13 percent of all business trip transactions, with Lyft receipts making up nearly 4 percent.

This isn’t exactly a surprise. Uber and Lyft have already caused massive disruptions in urban transportation, as taxi drivers lose customers in droves. Even airports themselves are losing money as fewer passengers choose to park cars at airports, opting instead to use Uber or Lyft.

SuperShuttle’s demise will have a similarly damaging effect on those who make their living shuttling passengers to and from airports.


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Tags: airports, lax, lyft, uber

Photo credit: A SuperShuttle van is parked by the curb. André-Pierre du Plessis Follow / Flickr

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