Massport Unveils New Ride App Area in Central Garage

Trips by Transportation Network Companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft to and from Logan International Airport has exploded with 12 million trips annually–accounting for roughly 40 percent of all traffic in and out of the airport.

However, studies have shown these ‘Ride App’ companies are only picking up seven million passengers at the airport. The remaining five million trips are what the Ride App industry calls ‘deadhead’ trips–or trips that do not include a passenger when leaving Logan.

Massport’s Director of Aviation Ed Freni.

Massport has struggled to better handle the volume and match riders with drivers so TNCs are not leaving Logan empty.

Last Wednesday, Massport unveiled the Terminal A and C section of the new Ride App space in Central Parking. By creating a new Ride App area Massport hopes to reduce congestion at the airport and add amenities to improve the passenger experience that use these Ride Apps.

Starting this week the flying public landing and arriving at Terminals A and C that plan to use Ride Apps Uber and Lyft will meet their driver in Central Parking. Massport has placed multiple signs throughout the two terminals directing passengers to the new locations.

“Moving the Uber and Lyft operations to Central Parking does two main things – it helps us provide better customer service for all our passengers and it will help reduce the amount of congestion on our roadways and through the tunnels,” said Massport CEO Lisa Wieland. “This is part of our Logan Forward initiative, and we’re making improvements to create a better airport.”

Inside the new Ride App area in Central Parking, Massport showed off new amenities like protection from the elements, and localized heaters for the winter; new lighting design throughout the areas; skycap services including checked baggage for domestic flights by Bags, Inc. and wheelchair assistance; rematch service that allows a Ride App drivers dropping off a passenger to quickly pick up a passenger thus avoiding deadhead trips; and ADA compliant design, though passengers with disabilities can still choose to be dropped off and picked up curbside.

The original plan called for banning all TNCs from dropping off and picking up curbside at Logan terminals throughout the day. Under the original plan all TNC drivers would have been forced into the first floor of Central Parking to drop off and pick up riders.

However, before the Massport Board was to vote on the plan the Port Authority drafted a compromise allowing the Ride App companies to continue curbside drop offs at all Logan terminals between the hours of 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. However, all pickups will still be moved to the new Central Parking Ride App area.

At the time of the compromise, Massport Board Member and Eastie resident John Nucci spoke out against the compromise because he said it would do little to mitigate airport related traffic spilling out onto Eastie streets during rush hour.

“I spoke out against the compromise plan because it is simply not the best way to address morning congestion at the tunnel and on surrounding streets,” said Nucci at the time. “This amended plan essentially allows Ubers and Lyfts to continue to snarl curb traffic and quite possibly leave the airport empty during morning hours when 40 percent of Logan flights takeoff.

That’s not a good compromise for East Boston.

Rep. Adrian Madaro is on the record as being disappointed in the compromise and said allowing Uber and Lyft to continue curbside drop-offs during morning rush hour will not do enough to reduce the millions of deadhead rideshare trips coming out of Logan each day.

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