By Bob Weiss, Travel Contributor

BOSTON (CBS) – At 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Logan International Airport starts a new era.

Seven car rental companies now located on the airport and two new ones, now off-airport, will move into Logan’s new consolidated rental car facility, known as Conrac, located on the south side of the airport.

Advantage and Thrifty will consolidate their operations in the new $310 million Conrac building with four floors. They will join Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, and National.

In perhaps the largest overnight move in Logan’s ninety year history, as many as 4,000 cars will be relocated from several one story locations nearby.

For the first time, all rental cars will be undercover in a 120,000 square foot new building. There are 616 solar panels on the roof that can provide 150 kilowatts of power.

The rent-a-car bus service to the terminals will also be dramatically changed at the same time.

Bigger double Massport buses, holding 50 passengers and their bags, will replace the vans for the individual companies.   Twenty-eight fuel-efficient hybrid bus trips an hour will do what 150 vans did earlier in the week.

Rent-Car bus vehicle miles are expected to drop by 70-percent with the new service.

Buses will pick up departing passengers on the second level of the Conrac facility and drop arriving passengers off at the lower level of the facility. A command center operation in the building will keep track of the buses by GPS. The new bus service will also serve the Blue Line MBTA Blue Line station.

The new routes will be assisted by Massport people at curbside to give transportation directions and extra employees of Paul Revere Transportation who will load and unload baggage on the buses.

A new elevated roadway system has also been put in place for the rental cars exiting the airport.

September and October are two of the busiest months at Logan for business travel and international visitors.

The car rental companies have been buying up car sharing services like ZipCar of Boston. A great deal of their hourly and daily rental service is done on weekends. This move helps the companies balance their fleets when there is less business at an airport.

Portland, Maine and T.F. Green Airport in Providence are already operating Conrac facilities.

Bob Weiss reports on business travel on Mondays at 5:55 a.m. on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

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