Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport)unveiled a new ground transportation plan to help mitigate traffic congestion in and around Boston Logan International Airport by changing how Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) operate at Logan and expanding Logan Express (LEX) service. These major initiatives are expected to eliminate up to 3 million vehicle trips off the roads, and double LEX ridership while improving the customer experience and reducing emissions.
“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 Massport Acting CEO John Pranckevicius. “The growing congestion at Logan is significantly impacting our passengers and our surrounding communities. The bottom line 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.”
TNCs generated 12 million total vehicle trips to/from Logan in 2018. Only 7 million involved passenger drop-offs or pick-ups, with the remaining 5 million not carrying any passengers (i.e., “deadheading”). These empty vehicles create traffic congestion in the tunnels and along Rte. 1A, and increase greenhouse gas emissions. Massport has been meeting with Uber and Lyft to finalize a plan that would reduce empty TNC vehicles by as much as 30%.
Initiatives to Improve TNC operations:
- Implement Rematch and Shared Ride
- Change the TNC Fee Structure
- New Logan Express and Other HOV Initiatives
- Evaluate Logan Airport Parking Rates
- Optimize TNC Operations On Airport
Massport is currently in discussion with Uber and Lyft about the specific TNC initiatives, but the aim is to move all TNC pickups and drop offs to the ground floor of the Central Garage. By doing this, the TNCs can implement Rematch and Shared Ride options. By moving these operations into the garage, it will be easier for a TNC driver dropping off a passenger to match with a waiting pick up passenger. Passengers will have a shorter wait time to be picked up, in a weather-protected area (unlike the current set up), and will have the option to take a Massport-discounted shared ride, such as uberPOOL and Lyft Line. TNC drivers will wait less time between customers, and experience less congestion on our roadways.
The Massport Board is expected to vote on a new TNC fee structure in April.
Logan Express is the seventh largest transit system in Massachusetts with four suburban locations in Braintree, Framingham, Woburn, Peabody, and Back Bay. Since 2009, LEX ridership has increased by 67%, from 1.1 million riders to 1.8 million. The goal is to increase annual ridership to 4 million.
Initiatives to double LEX:
- Revitalize Back Bay Logan Express service;
- Start a new urban Logan Express from North Station;
- Improve services/amenities at existing suburban LEX sites;
- Plan for and build parking capacity at existing sites;
- Identify new suburban Logan Express locations
The stations in Braintree and Framingham are the most popular with over 740,000 and nearly 580,000 riders annually. Under the new plan, Braintree will increase service from two to three trips to Logan per hour starting in May. Parking capacity at both Framingham and Braintree locations will also be increased.
Beginning in May, the LEX pick up and drop off site in Copley Square will move just outside the MBTA’s Back Bay Station. This new location provides easy access to the Orange Line and Commuter Rail. Riders will also benefit from a discounted fare plan– $3 for trips to Logan and FREE from Logan to the Back Bay Station beginning May 1st.
By next year, a LEX curbside service will be available for commuters at North Station with connections to the MBTA’s Green and Orange lines and the Commuter Rail. The fare will be $3 going to Logan and FREE from Logan to North Station. Other LEX locations are also being considered.