Airport Toys With New Idea To Reduce Parking Problems

At Boston’s Logan International, airport parking is a problem. Laws prevent building more parking facilities. To discourage overflow at existing lots, parking fees were raised sky high. Still, the demand is there and something had to be done about it.

“Logan has tried various ways to curb parking demand and wean passengers from driving to the airport,” said David Mackey of Massport, the state agency that operates the airport, reports MSNBC.

In March, transport officials tried raising airport parking fees to an all-time high of $27 per day while cutting fees to $7 a day at suburban lots that provide direct bus service to the airport. That had little effect.

Building more parking is not an option; the airport is barred from building new parking garages by environmental laws. Still, annual passenger traffic has risen 15.1 million in 1980 to 28.9 million last year and something had to be done.In a three-month pilot program that starts Wednesday, Boston Logan will become the first major airport in the United States to offer free transportation to and from downtown. It is an effort to cut cars both on the road and in parking lots at the fourth-busiest passenger hub in the Northeast.

“We don’t know of any other place where you can travel for free on the transit system coming from the airport to downtown,” said Virginia Miller, a spokeswoman for the American Public Transportation Association.

During the pilot program, the city will waive the $2 fare on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Silver Line buses that take passengers from the airport to South Station in central Boston.

That’s good news for everyone really; compared with private vehicles, public transportation produces on average 95 percent less carbon monoxide per passenger mile.

[Flickr photo by by carrotmadman6]