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LGA Tries to Fix Lousy Transfers with App

Largely for political reasons, New York City has failed to link one of its three airports to the city by rail. The airport that processed some 111.6 million passengers in 2013 is widely considered such an embarrassment that even Vice President Joe Biden has slammed it for being "like some third world country"—an opinion that a well-traveled person is hard-pressed to emphatically refute.

Rather than build proper infrastructure upgrades such as a rail link, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is turning to sharing apps to ease human congestion. From now on, if you're standing in the taxi queue, you can use the rising app Bandwagon to find someone else who is traveling somewhere nearby and you can split the cab fare. There's a small fee, but even with that, organizers are saying, you can save up to 40% on regular cab fare.

Another Port Authority-run airport, Newark, permitted Bandwagon use on its own premises in April. There, rates went down from about $50 before tip to about $36—not quite 30%.

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The Port Authority doesn't seem to want travelers to enjoy the cost-saving benefit all the time, however. Ridesharing will only be available during peak travel hours: Thursdays and Fridays, 4-7 pm and Sundays, 7pm-closing. Mondays will stand in for Sundays on long weekends such as Memorial Day. (The taxi drivers will certainly love the time restrictions, which force passengers to take cabs by themselves at all other times.)

There has long been talk about buidling a proper rail link from Laguardia to Manhattan to bring it in line with airports across the rest of the world, but so far, nothing has come of it.

New York is not the only major city that is working with apps to find transfer solutions. This summer, LAX will finally eliminate the geofence that prevents incoming passengers from using their smartphone to hail an Uber or Lyft—the mayor there has decided to override the monopoly of the taxi lobby in favor of supplying cheaper rides to those who come to his city.

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