Schlepping a suitcase on the T may become the best option for traveling home for the holidays, as plans to increase the charge for Ubers and Lyfts entering the airport were announced by Massachusetts Port Authority on Thursday. The pick-up and drop-off fee would increase to $5 from $3.25, according to The Boston Globe. Riders who split an Uber or Lyft with somebody else, however, will only be charged $2.50.
Additionally, the drop-off and pick-up zones will also change to the ground floor of the Central Garage, instead of curbside for drop offs and a designated areas nearby the terminals for pick ups.
“This transportation strategy is aimed at improving the customer experience, reducing empty vehicles clogging our roadways, reducing greenhouse gases, and making HOV options more attractive for our customers,” said John Pranckevicius, Massport’s CEO, in a press release.
“The growing congestion at Logan is significantly impacting our passengers and our surrounding communities. The bottomline is we need more people to get to and from the airport in fewer vehicles, and we think we can do that with these new strategies. This plan is better for our customers, better for the community and better for the environment.”
The plan aims to increase the number of people use Logan Express (LEX) service, which takes passengers from Logan to stops in Back Bay, Braintree, Framingham, Peabody, and Woburn. Fares for LEX service vary depending on location. The LEX site in Copley Square will move just outside of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Back Bay Station in May, giving easy access to the orange line and the commuter rail.
LEX service will be available at North Station—with connections for the green and orange lines and the commuter rail—beginning sometime next year. It will cost $3 to get to Logan and will be free from Logan to North Station. Other locations are also being considered for more LEX service, according to the press release.
The increase in fees for Uber and Lyft and the push for more LEX service aims to reduce the number of rideshare vehicles entering Logan—12 million trips just from Uber and Lyft were recorded in Logan last year. Of those, only 5 million actually carried passengers. The additional vehicles congested terminals and tunnels and increased greenhouse gas emissions, the release said. The plans are expected to to reduce the number of trips by 3 million.
“I think that it’s alright provided that public transportation is reliable and fast enough, especially for all of the college kids in Boston who rely on Uber and Lyft to get back to campus,” said Liam Coen, MCAS ’22. “If Massport was using the increased fees to make transportation from Logan better I would be ok with it, but just jacking up the price of Ubers and making them less convenient while doing nothing else would be terrible.”
By moving the pick-up and drop-off location to the Central Parking garage, it will be easier for rideshare drivers who are dropping off to then match with a customer who needs to be picked up. The goal is to decrease the wait time and to have people wait in a weather-protected area—the meeting location will be on the first floor of the garage. Massport will vote on the proposed changes in April.
“I’d say it’s practical, because you’re splitting up traffic,” said Mats Keldsen, MCAS ’22.
“Sucks for college students and people without a car and family in the area because you have to walk and pay more.”
Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / Heights Editor