MassPort has recently set new rules for Uber and Lyft and other Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) at Logan.  Logan is a special case, but we are facing unacceptable congestion across the region and the fundamental problem is single-rider vehicle use. Right now, TNCs are part of that problem.  However, they can be part of the solution if more of their trips become shared trips instead of single rider trips.

As congestion increases all across the region, we simply cannot get people where they need to go in single rider vehicles — there just isn’t enough asphalt at rush hour. The perennial question is how to get people into higher occupancy vehicles, including public transit.

When TNCs initially brought their superior dispatching technology to market, they competed most directly with taxis. TNCs now dwarf taxis even at the airport. Now TNCs are competing directly with higher-occupancy modes, including public transit, and so are contributing to congestion. They especially create additional congestion when they are moving empty — “dead-heading”.

The efficiency of TNC dispatching ironically encourages dead-head return trips at Logan.  The best bet for a Boston taxi driver dropping off at Logan may be to just sit at the airport and wait for a fare.  By contrast the TNC driver has the chance to make money all day long and so is more likely to prefer to leave the airport empty and keep driving.

MassPort’s proposed centralization of TNC drop-off and pick-up at Logan was intended to reduce terminal curb-side congestion and to reduce dead-head trips by facilitating re-match to new passengers in the central area. In the compromise finally adopted by the MassPort Board, TNCs will continue to be able to drop-off curbside in the morning, but will cycle to the central area for pickups.  TNC riders will pay a new drop off fee of $3.25, discounted to $1.50 for shared rides.

I share the concerns of many that the new rules seem to unfairly disadvantage Uber and Lyft as compared to taxis and limousines.    I’m not as troubled as some are by the partially centralized traffic flow for TNCs — I am hopeful that Logan will make the new flow as workable as possible for all riders. They are promising baggage check and wheel chair access and other necessities and conveniences within the TNC area. And all travelers will benefit from a reduction in congestion.

I remain troubled that a non-Boston taxi or a limo service will pay no drop-off fee although they are even more likely than an Uber/Lyft driver to return empty and contribute to dead-head congestion.  A more rational approach would charge all ride services based on their efficiency — the total number of riders they are carrying per round trip; the more the riders, the lower the fee. Riders entering or leaving Logan alone, especially in hours that public transportation is available, should pay a steeper fee.  

While I believe that a steeper differential is necessary to result in increased sharing on trips to Logan, the changes will help increase sharing on rides home from Logan. Currently, to prevent cycling of vehicles on the ring roads, Massport prohibits outgoing ridesharing. At the new central location, ridesharing will be encouraged.

MassPort deserves a lot of credit for their efforts to increase public transportation to the airport — the expansion of Logan Express buses is a positive aspect of the proposal that is not getting much  attention.

TNCs are here to stay.  We need to explore new partnerships with them to reduce single-occupancy vehicle use across the region.  The broader opportunities include statewide TNC fee structures to more heavily favor ride-sharing and also marrying public transit GPS technology to TNC dispatching so people could better coordinate trips using both transit and a TNC ride.  

There may be new ways of scheduling and sharing transportation resources that we just haven’t thought of yet — new technology has created a lot of room for both public and private creativity.

Statement from MassPort in response to concerns expressed here about impact of the proposed plan on less able persons (May 29, 2019)

A new, dedicated curb will be constructed in the Central Garage at Logan Airport where Uber and Lyft pick-up and drop-offs will occur starting later this year. Passengers will have access to assistance and amenities such as wheelchairs, baggage check/Skycaps, and luggage carts at this new dedicated TNC curb. Persons with disabilities who use TNCs at Logan Airport will continue to have access to terminal curbs for drop-offs and now also pick-ups, enabling them to choose which location they prefer to meet their TNC driver. At the direction of the Massport Board, an advisory committee has been formed and will meet on a monthly basis throughout planning and implementation to provide guidance to Massport on how best to effectuate this plan.

In addition, Massport was thrilled to also announce a plan to double ridership on Logan Express, and to reduce prices at the Back Bay Urban Express from $7.50 each way, to $3.00 to the Airport and free back to Boston’s Back Bay. Massport is also giving these transit customers front of the security line privileges to encourage more people to get to Logan Airport in fewer vehicles.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

74 replies on “Uber and Lyft at Logan”

  1. It seems only fair that taxis be subject to the same fees and restrictions as Uber.

    1. Rideshare companies need regulation, but it seems like most rules are made at the behest of the politically connected tax slumlords.

    2. I absolutely agree. Uber/Lift have challenged a cumbersome and wasteful system with dispatures. Taxi drivers do not have benefits, and it is not logical to disadvantage Uber/Lift based on the argument that they hurt taxis. A better solution would be to rationalize the ancient law which divides workers into “employees” who have some protection and “independent contractors” who do not. Making rules that disadvantage Uber/Lift and their customers over Taxis is very poor policy.

  2. The central location may be hard for people with disabilities or anyone who needs help with their luggage.

    1. Of course. But traveling is never easy on anybody, especially those with disabilities, old age, or illness. Getting to Central Parking seems hardly a strain, knowing there are automated ramps, elevators, etc, that help with this. I do think that Massport needs to hire a staff to assist folks to and from Central Parking. Create jobs!

    2. The rule is completely absurd. People are old. People are disabled. People fly with luggage!

        1. Really? Dropping baggage in central parking? This seems like a *terrible* idea. Airlines have a difficult enough time getting the bags from curbside – let alone now in the middle of Central Parking. It doesn’t seem safe either from a security point of view. But I guess that’s all secondary? Or will there now be scanners for bags in Central Parking too?
          There are many legitimate complaints that government moves too slowly – but in this case the “problem” was identified and a “solution” was found in a very short period of time. The solution is unequal in its treatment, favoring limo’s and taxi’s and punishing ride share.
          Was there even an analysis from the business community on how this would impact business travel?
          As somebody who flies at least once a month I am DREADING this. Badly handled at all levels.

    3. My scattered thoughts:
      Will said: “Riders entering or leaving Logan alone, especially in hours that public transportation is available, should pay a steeper fee.” Well, what Miriam Baker said about difficulties of some passengers getting to a central dispatch area also goes for public transportation. Why should the encumbered, the feeble, the tired parents with three kids, the people who need to get to towns poorly served by MBTA, pay a penalty for using a cab?

      TNCs should be using algorithms that dispatch the closest driver to a demand site no matter what company s/he drives for, and that should include fleet taxis. Such arrangements are called cooperative agreements and should be no-brainers, but TNCs intent on dominating a market might balk.

      I’d like to see a monorail linking Logan terminals, South Station, and North Station, but dream on. Anyway, there’s too much traffic in the air as well as on the ground. Air transport is the most climate-impactful of all modes of getting places, but nobody is talking about ways to limit it, and beefing up railroad infrastructure and and modernizing rolling stock seem to be a non-starters. So, before you book a flight, ask if this trip is necessary, and if it is purchase carbon offsets, FWIW.

    4. And to piggy back onto Miriam’s comment: families with children, car seats and strollers and all the accessories that accompany a family traveling will need to walk quite a way in some instances to their terminals.

    5. The new, dedicated TNC areas in Central Garage will have:

      • Baggage check and Sky Caps
      • Improved wi-fi
      • Better lighting
      • Wheelchair assistance
      • And will be weather-protected and climate-controlled.
  3. Last I checked, shared rides were not available from Logan via Uber or Lyft. Is that likely to change in the future?

    1. This is a really good point. As of last month, you cannot get a shared Uber or Lyft from the airport. I assume they do this to make more money, but it seems like that is an opportunity to reduce congestion.

      Maybe we could also work with TNCs to find ways to reduce deadheading. Perhaps making a queue for pickups similar to how taxi stands work.

      I do support charging a toll or some other congestion charge. People like me that can afford to use rideshares or taxis (or get a ride from a friend) should pay for the congestion we create.

      Finally, the best solution may be to improve the public transportation to the airport! There should be single-transfer connections to all train lines. Currently there is no single-transfer airport to green line route.

      1. That’s part of the new proposal — in the central facility, ride-sharing will be permitted and encouraged.
        Apparently, they don’t do it now because it creates too much cycling of vehicles around the ring road.

  4. If Taxis were clean, comfortable and the drivers we pleasant, they would not be suffering the loss of business going to the TNC’s. It is totally unfair having the TNC’s not be able to drop off at the terminals all day and night. Who are they their to serve? Mass Port executives or the people that use the airport?
    This is not a thoughtful solution…

  5. I believe this unfairly hurts Uber and Lyft and more importantly, the convenience of the consumer. If the taxis were less expensive and cleaner, they would be more competitive and more riders, like me, would use taxis more often. I really do not want to be left off in central parking with luggage and I think it is also bad for tourism.

  6. If changes are to made they should be applied to taxi’s, livery service, and TMC’s. Also it is obvious that most drop off’s and many pickup’s are by family and friends so if you REALLY want a solution you should pay attention to these as well, you know, the old 80%/20% rule. To do otherwise would just demonstrate extreme bias of judgement.

  7. Driving and Uber etc compete with public transport. People prefer a $35 Uber charge to the time taken on public transport. They won’t take the “free” Silver Line to South Station because it is so slow. It stops at all the terminals and Silver Line stops along the way – including one 5 min stop to with from electric power to diesel. I would like to see more attention paid to making public transport the easy obvious choice.

  8. A huge help would be far more frequent public transportation. At the end of a long flight and with a few bags in tow, we’re currently faced with two options:

    1. Waiting 10-15 minutes for a bus to take us to a train that will take 30 minutes to get us to within a 10 minute walk of home.
    2. A 5 minute wait for a 20 minute drive to get us to our doorstep.

    We want to do the right thing, but the T makes that harder at every step. Maybe at least target that first step, to help encourage us to make the leap?

    Without the carrot, the new fee just feels like a stick for stick’s sake.

  9. I don’t object to a central pickup (especially since it’ll be sheltered!), but I do object to paying a fee that is 1-not asked of taxis/limos and 2-not asked of cars that either drop off or pick up friends/family members. These cars also arrive or leave ’empty’, and contribute just as much to congestion issues.

  10. Will, it seems to me that you support these new rules that inconvenience your constituents in a completely unreasonable way. The only reason that the TNCs can even compete with public transit options is because the MBTA is slow, poorly managed, and incapable of supporting ridership. To get from Allston to Logan via Uber or Lyft is a 20 minute trip. Getting from Allston to Logan via MBTA would be upwards of an hour and require multiple transfers and toting luggage on crowded Green Line trains. This is infeasible and in many cases impossible. I appreciate the desire to reduce congestion but to suggest that the MBTA is a viable alternative to Uber/Lyft is disingenuous. You can’t suggest mass transit as the government’s preferred means of getting to the airport without providing reasonable mass transit options for getting to the airport. Your constituents are more impacted by these rules than most because the mass transit options in Allston, Brighton, Watertown, and Belmont are particularly atrocious.

    1. FWIW, Chris, not that I fly much, but when I do, I often take the trip to Logan by public transportation. Granted, it is slower, and it always will be. If had to fly every week, I might feel that was unmanageable. That’s why there is a role for Uber and Lyft. What we need is for them to be shared more frequently.

  11. How come I can’t find the inter-terminal shuttle train running inside the security perimeter? Who hid the direct links to rapid train service in arrivals? Bus to blueline helps make Logan feel like its decades behind world class service.
    Put congestion pricing on all autos entering and exiting Logan. Don’t just take it out on Uber and Lyft.

  12. >> A more rational approach would charge all ride services based on their efficiency
    I agree. I’d suggest an even more rational and simple approach would be to have some fee/toll for *all cars* that enter and/or leave the airport.

  13. Why not have the rule be ride shares only (Uber Pool and Lyft Shared)? That would solve the problem wouldn’t it? I’ve been disappointed to notice ride share options weren’t available on Uber/Lyft when at Logan. That’s the real problem.

  14. It is important to bear in mind that Uber and Lyft’s strategy is to take a loss on every ride (e.g. Uber lost about $3/ride in 2018; a normal for-profit company would have charged enough to make a few dollars profit on each ride). This is probably because they are trying to drive their competitors out of business, so they can establish a de facto monopoly or duopoly, so they will have the market power needed to increase prices significantly to finally pay back their investors. This may be a good business strategy for them, and it is pleasant for current consumers to get cheap rides, but it is not a sustainable social good in the long run. If Uber and Lyft were foreign-owned companies we would impose sanctions on them for “dumping” product below the cost of production.

  15. I’m a huge fan of Lyft, but not if I have to drag things from central parking. Dumb idea. The scheduling compromise is a nice thought, but it becomes yet another mystery rule to Boston driving. The Silver line has been an improvement over the Blue line, but suitcases on the T (Red line, etc.) are difficult. So we either taxi or Uber.

    Will’s comments are interesting here, because it seems a more effective strategy would be to encourage shared rides (the apps already offer a pricing discount) and get Uber and Lyft to incentivize drivers to pick up passengers after dropping off – not hard to do.
    Then the Lyft driver is more efficient than a family vehicle which will always be empty one direction.
    The underlying issue is that we seem to value family cars more than shared modes of transportation, which include Uber and Lyft.

  16. Public transit in Boston is horrible.

    From Brighton Center to the airport takes forever. Walk to the bus, take bus to subway at Kenmore, switch to Blue line. Then airport shuttle. Weeeee, one hour minimum and if it’s at rush hour with luggage, impossible. And you have to leave early in case the TSA lines at the airport are a mess.

    I bet I can drive to terminals and back twice in the same time.

    Google maps says I can ride my bike and get to American terminal faster than public transportation now (4:30 pm).

    I usually jump off the train at Babcock Street (near BU) realizing I’ll miss my flight if I don’t change mode of transportation.

    1. Exactly! According to Google maps, to arrive at Logan Airport by 10AM leaving from Harvard Ave and Commonwealth Ave is a minimum of 58 minutes and requires two transfers with significant walking. It’s insane to call that a viable alternative to Uber/Lyft

  17. Traffic in Boston is horrendous, yet the city is constantly building more and more expensive condos. More people = more traffic. Need to take a big picture look at this whole problem.

  18. Why is it that local Boston residents are punished most by the Lyft/Uber changes? Many of us don’t have an easy public transportation alternative. It’s also crazy that only Boston taxis (curiously not under the same restrictions) have to pay a toll for entering the airport, while neighboring towns don’t.

    If the goal is to reduce traffic around Logan two things should be implemented:
    1. Lyft/Uber drop-offs should be paired with someone requesting a ride (at the same terminal) whenever possible. This would reduce ride-share traffic over 50% and still allow pick-up/drop-offs at the terminal.
    2. If the goal is reducing traffic around the airport, then ALL vehicles entering Logan should have an entrance fee ($3.25) via EZ Pass/license plate reading. Why should a vehicle from NH or Maine dropping off/picking-up passenger be free, while only locals have to pay the Uber/Lyft or taxi Massport fees? Then create a off-site pickup area (perhaps on Rt. 1A) will have free pick-up via shuttle buses. This will again reduce traffic inside the terminals, which is the stated goal.

    This plan, as currently devised, is nuts. All it will do is redirect business from Lyft/Uber to taxis, who still get priority access to the terminals. So now we have to go back the vehicles we all hated, while paying more $, just so we can get to the airport.
    If the goal is reducing traffic, then start tolling all vehicles that enter the airport! It’s unfair that only local residents will soon have much more difficult & expensive trips to the airport, while neighboring town taxis don’t have this problem, nor do private vehicles.

  19. “TNCs are here to stay.”

    Then lets squeeze as much revenue out of them as possible as long as they aren’t going anywhere.

    I disagree with concerns about being fair to TNCs. Some forms of discrimination isn’t worth any effort to avoid. By all means give them incentives to move more people per CO2 emission, but don’t spend a moment making sure we’re fair to them vs. local taxis. They aren’t worth the trouble. Fairness arguments don’t apply to companies like this, thinking of how they treat their employees (contractors?) and what their corporate cultures are like. The also have multiple advantages vs. local cab companies in how they are funded and how long they can take losses that more than offset anything the state is likely to do.
    There are too many important initiatives needed, particularly having to do with emissions reductions in transportation, to take time on something like this, well, unless you think doing so would duck later lawsuit trouble.

  20. Lots of thoughtful and accurate commentary here. Forcing central pickup on Uber/Lyft alone is wrong. Economic incentives for ride sharing and dead head reduction make sense and, given reasonable time, Uber/Lyft can develop software to facilitate. You might get more 6-8 passenger vans in service. No reason not to apply all changes equally to Taxis.

  21. Yes, overpopulation is the elephant in the room, or in this case, at the airport.

  22. I travel frequently between Logan and my apartment in Back Bay. With the current rules, I travel to the airport via TNC and from the airport via taxi. That’s because of efficiency. From experience, I don’t trust the taxi to be reliably prompt on the outbound trip. The curbside taxi inbound is reliable and efficient.

  23. As one respondent noted, this plan is all stick and no carrot. The current public transit alternative is antiquated and sclerotic. Moreover, if you are disabled, physically challenged or have kids, sharing rides is not a appealing option and being dumped off in the Central Garage sounds like a nightmare. Somehow, the great minds who thought up this supposed solution to congestion forgot that time is money to the vast majority of flyers. Stress levels will soar, and will make conditions at Logan worse. The only practical incentive I can see is to structure a better way for TNC’s to find arriving travelers to pick up.

  24. Fees that encourage shared rides for all TNC vehicles, and discourage deadheading, would be more equitable and effective than just targeting Uber and Lyft. Fees would also be more acceptable to the public if the revenue was explicitly devoted to improving public transportation to Logan. Otherwise, the fees seem like just another case of gouging the public without responding to real public needs.

  25. Boston can’t be the only city facing this issue. What are other major cities doing?

    I agree with the other respondents who said the bigger issue is the MBTA.

  26. Boston needs a door to door airport van service. San Francisco’s van shuttle services provide door to door service to the SFO airport, which is 15 miles away for $16 – $20.. It is a 15 mile trip partly on highway, that normally takes 30 minutes. I believe the vans trips take about an hour. The vans hold several people. Government should provide an incentive for a couple of start- up shuttle services.

  27. I wonder if it would be possible to let the TNCs use the taxi pool and pick up lanes along side taxis. This would be made possible by QR codes. Riders with Uber and Lift accounts would wait in the taxi lines, and scan a QR code when they get in the TNC to initiate the ride. They would not need to call a car or schlep to central parking. I think this would be a lot more efficient, use the infrastructure that’s already there, and give taxis a hand too because all the customers would be in the same line and some will get in taxis and some in TNCs. Or they could opt for one or the other, simply by waiting for the car choice they want.

  28. As a retired person I savor the opportunity to travel. But at this stage of life I absolutely cannot drag luggage from
    a terminal to Central Parking. I can’t get it up the steps of a shuttle bus. And I can’t begin to imagine how a family with children could manage this either. I’d be happy to share Uber with other riders even if I takes longer to get around. But the last time I checked that was not an option. Having to use the Central Parking garage is just plain stupid.

  29. Stop being passive and afraid of the unions. Congestion is truly poor in Boston (because you as elected officials cannot fix the T), but making the most convenient method of transport to the airport more expensive due to unions is rubbish. I will vote you out of office next election because you have no spine. Do you job.

  30. I live three blocks from the Hynes Convention Center and just hop on the express bus to Logan. It takes a bit longer but is direct non-stop to the airport; it’s also kinder to the environment and as a bonus it doesn’t contribute to even greater congestion. Maybe Logan Express service can be expanded?

  31. Follow the money. Here’s a plan to make Uber and Lyft hard to use, while taxis can come and go from the terminals. So, people will use taxis, not public transportation if, like me, they are no longer young and cannot lug their suitcase from bus to train to bus, etc. to get to Logan. Why isn’t there direct van service from Harvard Square to Logan, since Cambridge accounts for so many Uber rides, according to the referenced article? Again, what role has the taxi industry played in all this planning? While they were doing the Big Dig they should have found a way to run trains directly into the terminals. Since they didn’t, some creative thinking is called for here, and punishing travelers is not creative.

  32. Hi Will, I fly almost every week and frequently multiple times a week. I use uber or lyft based on timing and the wait time for a car. I can’t remember the last time I used a cab in Boston due to the usual dismal service from an unhappy driver. I disagree with the proposals on several aspects:

    * I strongly disagree with the forced sharing because during rush hour that can easily add 30mins or more as the driver goes backwards against traffic to pick up another ride or you have to wake up 30mins earlier for an early morning flight to account for pooling issues. That quickly adds to my overall waiting time when I could be generating taxable income for the state and federal governments.
    * The central pickup location doesn’t make any sense and should apply equally to taxis in any case. Since most the rides have shifted to TNC, maybe the taxis should be forced to idle in the central parking structure to free up curb capacity. I think the current lot situation works and we can spread out the cars to picking up at arrivals or departures depending on what is more crowded at the moment. This is an imminently solvable issue with technology. Enforcing travel lanes in front of each terminal will help flow but I think a lot of the traffic is cause by friends and family dropping people off and not knowing how to hustle and not block traffic, maybe the friend and family drivers should be forced to the central lot?
    * Any fees should be levyed on all traffic not just TNCs. But where would it go or would it be another slush fund tax? I would be for more staff to call people out on blocking traveling or blocking multiple lanes of traffic when dropping people off
    * Maybe a discounted fee/ rate for people that want to trek to the central terminal as a carrott?
    No silver bullet here but I think the forced central terminal option is a non-starter.


    1. I just had a chance to read the massport PR in detail so 30% of traffic from TNCs, 5% taxis leaves 65% of other or Friends and Family which are almost always deadhead trips. I think the TNCs are being unfairly targeted in this proposal and there are not enough lanes of traffic avail to accommodate all the traffic going into central parking given the backups at each of the individual terminals. I would support more staff to actually keep traffic moving at terminals vs chatting and playing on their phones. Moving the F&F traffic to the central might be an even better option since most people get there waiting around for their F&F. I also echo the concerns on baggage handling. I don’t check bags often, but when I do, Boston hands down has the worst service and longest waits so I have no confidence with the baggage check in at central parking. I guess massport is trying to drive up fees by forcing people to rent their carts. Maybe as a part of this proposal all the carts should be free.

  33. We’re dealing here with what in the 1960’s were called Limits to Growth, and we still haven’t figured them out. More people moving around than resources can sustain or means of conveyance can accommodate, yet we still insist that we be served by facilities and infrastructure stretched beyond their limits.

    Who is at fault for that? Ultimately it is we, the traveling public, who insist on being served in the manner to which we have become accustomed in circumstances not designed to handle such demands in such bulk.

    My advice? Stay near to where you live and conduct your affairs there. Stop flitting around at the drop of a hat. Be both locavores and local activists. Need a meeting somewhere? Use live video. Need a vacation? Explore your region. Need to attend a graduation, anniversary, or funeral somewhere far away? Then go, but make your presence there felt in a way that makes a difference to those there.

    Home is where the heart is, not in Orlando, LA, Vegas, Miami, Cancun, or Barcelona, unless you happen to come from there. Let them be. Focus on here and now.

  34. I don’t see how the current proposal will truly cut down on empty Uber’s and Lyfts leaving the airport. The early morning hours are the heaviest departure times, as has been announced as an explanation for allowing curbside drop-offs only during those hours. But there aren’t arriving planes at those hours with passengers to fill those vehicles so at least most of them are bound to leave the airport empty. I don’t think they’re going to go to the central garage area and wait around for passengers.

  35. Completely agree with how unfair the tax on Lift and Uber vs. Taxis. For years I paid over $30 (plus tip) to get to and from Logan from the Back Bay. I now pay way less w Lift. The best was the free Logan Express Bus when the Gov Center T was being repaired. If you want to decrease the traffic, offer the free Logan Express from various sites.

    1. Capital idea that will take capital expenditures. The T is broke, though, so Massport should pay, and if it doesn’t already (does anybody know?) should reimburse the T for provisioning services to Logan.

  36. Traffic congestion is a genuine problem but the changes that are being made do not seem like a cogent solution. The bias in favor of taxis is a dead giveaway.

    All drop-offs at the terminal are “dead heads” if by this we mean that the vehicle leaves without additional passengers. Taxis are prohibited from picking up at curbside and must wait at the taxi pool location before taking a new fare. Most taxis from suburban towns will leave empty, anyway. Limos, friends and family also always leave empty. So TNCs do not uniquely contribute to this problem.

    The “dead head” issue, therefore, is a clear red herring and a sign that the powers-that-be either have not thought through the issues (unlikely) or that they are intentionally providing aid to the taxi and livery services. All this hand waving is a deliberate distraction from the actual intentions. (“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”)

    Thought experiment: What if ALL drop-offs and pick-ups were to occur in central parking unless they were serving handicapped, sick or elderly? That would actually be an equitable policy and might reduce traffic significantly (though it is unclear how central parking could handle such a huge increase in traffic). But notice that Massport has not proposed this approach. 🙂

    It may be the case that a significant amount of the traffic at Logan is made up of TNC vehicles. But this is not because TNCs are behaving badly (or even differently than other vehicle types) nor would swapping taxis for TNCs (as the Massport changes attempt to do) solve the problem. It’s because, given all of the issues with transportation that other commentators have mentioned, people prefer to travel to Logan in automobiles.

    It is nice to imagine an efficient, integrated, multi-model transportation network that quickly gets people from home of the terminal with a minimum of traffic and cost, but that is a much larger issue and the current changes do not in any way contribute to its solution.

  37. How about instead of putting rules in place that make travel more challenging we invest in public transportation to make travel easier. I’m on the road at least once a month and Logan’s public transportation options are pathetic compared to many other cities out there.

    These changes are frustrating, I’m all for lower traffic congestion and positive climate change, but why not incentives both TNC’s AND Taxi’s to take exiting trips with passengers? Right now congestion is caused by the influx of TNCs going to one place and all the other drop off going to another, why not streamline?

    Finally, Massachusetts and Boston should embrace its role as a leader in innovation, trying to out-regulate innovation is a losing battle and bad for everyone except for those entrenched in the status quo. This is disappointing as a whole and would expect the legislators to find a more innovative and collaborative solution.

  38. As someone who would have to take the green line to the blue line to get to the airport by public transit, I don’t feel comfortable potentially missing my flight because the green line ONCE AGAIN, had a meltdown as it so commonly does. It is also cumbersome and frustrating taking public transit with multiple lugages, when even not traveling getting a seat is hit or miss. A TNC is a reliable and efficient way to get to the airport, unlike our sad excuse for a public transit system. Maybe if we fixed the T people would be more apt to using it, instead of relying on 3rd party services.

  39. How about congestion pricing for TNC’s Get a better price during the off peak times. They pay more during peak traffic hours

  40. I like your phrase: “there just isn’t enough asphalt at rush hour”. Yet, do we forgo action demanded by climate change? Our conversations lengthen. Our transit studies extend decades, and half centuries—such as, connecting North/South Station or Blue/Red Lines. Yes, deposing the solo-car, of which I am a user too, is harder than deposing the Pharaohs or the dictator of Venezuela.
    •Jim Rooney proposes Reform, Revenue, Results. One could say: Congestion-pricing, Equity-refund, Now.

  41. Has the silver line tunnel been opened to silver line buses yet? But love new changes for Logan Express Back Bay ti Airport and back.


    I guess this is why they’re charging more fees.

    Another thing to consider is that drivers make less for more work with the TNCs pocketing most of the difference since drivers are paid on distance and time. Ride sharing is also not too feasible for airport trips. What if the first passenger has a lot of luggage and the second pickup can’t fit their bags and needs to wait for another car and could miss their flight as part of the delay, especially if they need to walk over from central parking.

    1. Also, don’t be fooled by the altruism of massport giving up 1,000 parking spots. Max revenue if all 1,000 were used all the time $12.8M ($35 daily fee x 1,000 x 365)

      New fee revenue. Up to $48.5M from the new fee (15M annual rides x $3.25) less shared ride discount. Even if every ride was shared, Massport would still make 2x more vs existing parking spots plus additional fees from luggage carts and skycaps. Massport must be seeing a big decline in fees from taxis so they decided to go after TNCs with 6x volume of taxis

  43. Thank you for the update, and a few points:
    1) As you note, these rules should apply equally to limo services. But until they also apply to regular cabs, we will see this as another example of how Massport is trying to protect the taxi industry at its customers’ expense. As it stands now, the walk to a taxi is 2 minutes, while TNC is a 5 minute walk + 5 minute wait.
    2) To the best of my knowledge, Massport insisted that TNC’s not allow shared rides to/from the airport. That is counterproductive to their stated purposes (and fantastic for their real purpose, protecting taxis by raising TNC prices). Particularly because the UberPool model works best when you have a lot of people going/coming to/from a single spot, allowing a single pickup/dropoff on at least one line. You mention that will be changed; it’s about time (and the fact that it took so long tells us something about Massport….)
    3) Massport should reach out to the TNC companies to see if they can work out a dispatch system that minimizes idle time, wait time (for passengers), and deadhead rides. Knowing a little about the algorithms, it doesn’t seem so hard- imagine if every Uber dropped a passenger (or 3) off, immediately went and picked one (or 3) up, and left the airport. It’s a scheduling/resource allocation issue, and if there’s one thing computer science is good at, that’s it.
    4) A group (family etc.) travelling together is just as efficient as a shared car. So I would suggest the following: HOV (either 2 or 3 passengers+) pickup/dropoff at the curbside, whether taxi, friend, or TNC. Non-HOV at central terminal. Troopers giving small tickets ($25?) to HOV violators. Uber comes with an option where to meet your driver, depending on how many people you have. Taxis have two lines: one for HOV, one for not. Figure out how to turn taxis into shared-use vehicles, for those who choose.

  44. What about passengers who use The Ride? That was never mentioned; and The Ride is also a ride sharing program, just like Uber and Lyft. I get The Ride due to arthritis from the hips down and sometimes walking from the Central Garage to JetBlue (which I’ve actually done) is tiring and painful. Are The Ride passengers also subject to this drop-off/pickup over there? And like others, I too am concerned about just leaving my luggage in the middle of nowhere. I’d be really disappointed if I got to DC/Seattle/Charleston (which are the places I fly to most frequently) and learned my luggage either never got there or went to Honolulu without me.

  45. Though not all of us can do this, many of us can. My wife and I ALWAYS take the T to and from Logan. 15-minute walk to the 73 to Harvard, Red Line to South Station, Silver Line right to the terminal. And when returning, the T is FREE! Yes, it takes a bit more time, and yes, we have to walk some, and yes, we limit our luggage to one good-sized backpack (and NEVER check luggage). And did I say the T is FREE when returning from Logan? It needed repeating.

  46. I guess every airport is perfect until the passengers show up.

    This plan is worth a try. Between now and October the app transit companies may be able to devise an algorithm that might persuade MassPort to implement another solution. Let them have at it. Personally, I can handle the walk from central parking to a terminal.

    There is one terminal (forget which one) which directs you to a lot where you meet your app vehicle driver. It is closer than the garage, will Uber/Lyft cars still be allowed for this particular terminal lot? Maybe have drop-offs there as well?

    I have the same concerns as others about taxis and limos retaining their curbside access.

    Given our daily transportation near-crisis, let’s break the gridlock on attempts to deal with it.

  47. Here are a couple of ideas:
    1) Make the signs directing you to the arrival or departure levels electronic. Then during periods when one level is busy and the other empty make them list the non busy level level as an alternate drop off / pickup.
    2) Add a three dollar toll for any car entering the terminal loop. Now that we have license plate scan and charge running working this should be easy to implement. At the same time convert one of the nearby but outside the terminal loop economy parking lots to have a large pick up drop off area which the free shuttle stops at. Move the cell phone lot to one of the nearby but outside the terminal loop economy parking lots and encourage people to use it. Enforce a curb wait time if we have to. Implement better signage so people can say ” I am waiting at pole XXX and there will be easy to follow signs saying where pole XXX is.
    Don’t use central parking as a pick up drop off spot. Thats inside the terminal loop. Use something outside the terminal loop.

  48. I was looking forward to taking a Lyft the next time I went to Logan. I’m a longtime Boston resident and I’ve gotten screwed more times than I care to count with some of the city’s cab companies.

    I was looking forward to paying a legitimate fare, with no scams like the cabbie taking me on a “tour of the city” to jack up the fare, before even beginning my trip to Logan.

    But no. That would be too good to be true. Ride-shares will now be relegated to Central Parking, where I’d have to walk a ways, dragging a heavy duffle atop a large suitcase on rickety wheels, on MassPort’s patched potholed asphalt, just to get inside the airport. What about families with children? What about the disabled?


    Of course, these are government brainiacs who think they’re there doing something spectacular to cut down on airport congestion. But guess what? Nothing will. Logan’s infrastructure is already woefully inadequate and outdated for the increasing numbers of people who fly each year.

    These Beacon Hill wonks have no problem pushing this policy through no matter who it inconveniences because it doesn’t affect them: their drivers just leave them off at the curb at Logan.

    I wish, with all my heart, that Beacon Hill and City Hall would think of the all the people who rely on these methods of transportation. It won’t be so much as an increase in cars, but a shift: Lyfts and Ubers replacing cabs that have lost riders to the former.

  49. Oh here we go again. We don’t like Uber & Lyft so let’s require onerous rules and fees.
    Anyone see what happened with the short term rentals-? Hotel industry finally won. Baker signed the bill between Christmas and New Year’s, to severely tax any rental over 15 days. Baker had wanted 150 days to protect homeowners who needed to make money or sell. On Martha’s Vineyard we have elderly people living in shacks so they can rent for 60 days if that. Bingo we now are taxed by the state and town, all for a “Greater Good” because we were annoyed by Airbnb.
    I’m going to haul my broken wheeled recycling bin on public transportation and check in at a remote location where I can dump 95% of this stuff that’s going to a landfill anyway.
    Unintended consequences!

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