All Things Travel, By Bob Weiss

BOSTON (CBS) – Starting Wednesday morning at 5:38 a.m., the MBTA Silver Line service from Logan Airport to South Station will be free.

The one-way service is being funded by the airport operator, the Massachusetts Port Authority. According to Massport, the three month test through Labor Day is intended to increase awareness of the service that began in 2004 and has been steadily gaining passengers.

Bob Weiss was first to report this program in April.

A press conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in Terminal E at Logan. Expected to attend are Massport Acting CEO David Mackay and Mass. Department of Transportation Richard Davey.

The test comes at a time when the MBTA is trying to get Massport to contribute dollars to its expected $161 million deficit. Discussions are also being held about having the airport pick-up the cost of South Shore ferry service to Boston from Quincy that also stops at Logan Airport.

Massport currently contributes about a million dollars a year to maintain Silver Line service and buses that can reach the airport from downtown through the Ted Williams Tunnel in about 15 minutes. Riders returning to Logan will pay the regular fare of $1.70, which will rise to $2.00 per ride on July 1.

The timing of this test raises questions, coming at the height of the summer travel season. The T is used by a majority of international visitors that make up about 10 percent of Logan’s passenger numbers that exceeded 25 million last year. Many of them buy the seven day unlimited pass program that will cost $18 after July 1.

If the purpose of the test is to attract more riders on the T from the airport, steps could have been taken to make the Blue Line subway traffic from Airport Station also free. All people would have had to do was to show their airline seat assignments or tickets.

For the past several years, transportation maps in the terminals have told riders going to downtown locations like the hotels in and around Copley Square to take the Blue Line and change to the Green Line at Government Center.

bobweiss Massport To Fund Free Ride From Logan Airport To South Station

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

Calls for reaction from the Seaport hotels and the waterfront Convention & Exhibition Center were not returned.

Boston will host 6,000 business executives next month when the Global Business Travel Association starts on July 22 at The BCEC. Both former Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush will be keynote speakers. An airport panel discussion will include David Barger, CEO of jetBlue Airways. One of Boston’s major advantages for events is the proximity of Logan Airport to downtown.


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