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.
Want to make airport parking easier? Develop an app for it. JFK Airport‘s parking facility, SmartPark JFK, today announced the launch of their iPhone app for placing parking reservations. An update to the existing app, launched in 2009, now allows customers to not only make their parking reservation but also to earn free days with a Frequent Parking Program.
Also available online, the app is available on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
[Flickr image via Kriston Lewis]
For the past decade, Australians have griped about the escalating cost of short-term airport parking. Accusations of monopoly pricing were leveled, and a year ago, the government got involved, having the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) keep an eye on parking lot fees at the country’s five largest airports. The results are amazing.
Airports pull in 11 percent of their revenue from parking. In Melbourne, it’s a whopping 21 percent, while Sydney‘s airport pulls in a more modest 7 percent of its financial take from the parking lots. Since no government agency is willing to put its head on the chopping block the ACCC would only say that this is “consistent with airports having a monopoly position.”
Of course, there are perks to paying. People parking at the Melbourne airport were the most satisfied customers, with those frequenting Sydney’s lots at the bottom.
But, convenience always wins.
The Sydney airport is only 10 kilometers (a little more than 6 miles) from the city, and only 13 percent of passengers use the airport’s parking lots. Melbourne’s airport is more than twice as far away, making airport parking more sensible.
Finding the cheapest place to park at the airport is far more difficult than finding a cheap flight.
Most airport websites list nearby parking lots, but rarely list all of them. Nor do they usually include the price. So, how do you find the cheapest and closest one?
Try checking out AirportParkingReservations.com. This website lets you plug in a date range and then search for available parking spaces and lots at a variety of airports in America. You can then sort the results by price or parking type (self, valet, covered). The site also includes a handy map to see exactly where the lots are, as well as a write-up detailing the type of transportation the lot provides to the airport.
For those of you worried about pulling up to a parking lot only to find that it is full, AirportParkingReservations, as evident by their name, also lets people reserve a spot in advance — for a $5 service fee, of course.