Earlier this month, Massport Acting CEO John Pranckevicius laid out a plan to remove three million trips by Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft from local roadways that have been greatly contributing to East Boston’s traffic woes.
Over the past few years Uber and Lyft trips to and from Logan International Airport has exploded with 12 million annual trips a year. However these trips are only picking up seven million riders. The remaining five million trips are what the industry calls ‘deadhead’ trips or trips that do not include a passenger when arriving or leaving Logan.
Pranckevicius and Massport plan to better rematch shared rides so TNCs are not arriving or leaving Logan airport empty. The Port Authority also wants to make changes to the TNC fee structure; implementing new Logan Express (LEX) and HOV Initiatives; reevaluate Logan Airport parking rates; and find ways to optimize TNC operations at Logan. Another plan is to move all TNCs into the Central Garage at Logan to make it easier for a TNC driver dropping off a passenger to match with a waiting pick up passenger.
The plan has received the nod from the community environmental watchdog group Airport Impact Relief, Incorporated (AirInc.), a group that has advocated for better management of airport related traffic for decades.
“Without regulation, these Taxi cabs, Ubers, and private passenger cars routinely overload the limited road system in and around the airport- helping Boston earn the negative image as the Nation’s most traffic-congested city,” said AirInc.’s Vice President Chris Marchi. “And so as Massport is finally acting to manage the crush of Uber and Lyft- and begin to combat the cost and convenience disparities head-on with its proposals to move pick-up and drop-offs for these services into the central garage, raise airport access fees on them, and improve Logan Express service, we at AIR, Inc. find ourselves in the strange position of supporting their plans.”
“So clear are the benefits of riding these internet-based services that air travellers are not only shifting from taxi and family rides, but they’re also opting out of MBTA and other more efficient modes of accessing the airport,” he said. “Also clear is the facts that Logan’s ground access problems -led by Uber and Lyft, -are now choking the airport and city on a more-than-daily basis, and are morphing into increasingly severe public health, safety and economic crises.”
Marchi said Eastie and Logan have reached the point at which Massport, elected officials, the city and the state must intervene and called on Governor Charlie Baker and the Massport Board to support Pranckevicius’s proposals at the board meeting this Thursday.
Other suggestions AirInc. is making to the Massport Board aside from Pranckevicius’s plan the group endorsed are;
• Reducing Logan Express fares from $11 one way to the cost of the MBTA fare of $2.75.
• Reverse Congestion Pricing to further reduce Logan Express fares, making the service free during peak traffic periods.
• Create dedicated HOV lanes along routes into Logan and downtown for Logan Express, Silver Line, MBTA, and other HOV bus service.
• Offer WiFi and On-board Check-in Service on Logan Express.
• Add multiple new Logan Express service locations to downtown, Cambridge and suburban high-trip origination areas.
• Increase the frequency of Logan Express and MBTA train service.
• Connecting the Blue and Red Lines and extending the Blue Line to Lynn.