BOSTON (CBS) – “It’s the week before Christmas and all through the house, everyone was packing to take a trip south.”
Well, just about everyone.
Logan Airport and South Station, New England’s air, bus and rail hubs, handled more than one million passengers in the seven days before the holiday. To put that in prospective, the figure is equivalent to filling Fenway Park for a Red Sox game 27 times.
This was a record year and the fastest growing mode of transportation was bus travel at South Station.
The bus companies are almost all privately owned and are acquiring newly equipped buses with Wi-Fi and movies. Numbers are hard to come by, but their business is up double digit for the year.
The major route between Boston and New York may be up as much as 20 percent with passengers attracted by low fares.
The biggest loser in this entire transportation shift is the airline shuttle between the two cities. When the Acela train went into service a decade ago, rail travel accounted for about 20 percent of the business. Today, that figure is over 50 percent and still growing.
The biggest change at Logan Airport in the last decade, has been the emergence of JetBlue Airways and the cutbacks and bankruptcy of American Airlines in Boston.
JetBlue is now the number one airline flying passengers in New England. American Airlines is a different story. All American Eagle regional flights have disappeared at Logan and other airports in the region.
When the spring schedule goes into effect in the second quarter of next year, American will cease flying its route from Boston to London. This service was inaugurated 20 years ago and at one time they had three daily flights.
British Airways, with its Oneworld alliance, will be number one with three daily flights scheduled for next summer from Boston to London. The business will be shared by Delta and Virgin Airways, each offering a daily flight.
Logan Airport traffic for the year is expected to set another record of over 29 million passengers.
The record will be about two percent over 2011. International airlines flying to Europe will show a decline of about 1.5 percent. The overseas flights account for less than 10 percent of the total figure.
The economy is better. Rather than falling off the Fiscal Cliff, travelers are taking the plane, train and bus around it in the U.S.
“And to all a good night…Merry Christmas.”
Bob Weiss reports on travel for WBZ NewsRadio 1030