BOSTON (CBS/AP) – The Massachusetts Port Authority approved a plan Thursday to create a central location at Logan Airport where ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft can pick up and drop off passengers for most of the day.
All pickups will now be directed to a new location at the airport’s central garage. That will mean passengers will have to do more walking with their luggage from their terminal.
Massport also wanted all drop-offs at the garage as well. Instead, drop-offs will be allowed at the terminal curb arrivals level, but only in the hours between 4 and 10 a.m. Otherwise, drop-offs will also be at the garage.
There will also be a new $3.25 fee for drop-offs. There is already a $3.25 fee for pickups and that will not change.
The changes will begin October 1. Massport said they will be “subject to review” in six months.
Governor Charlie Baker supports the plan. He said too many ride-hailing drivers are coming into the airport empty to pick up a rider while too many others are leaving empty after dropping off a rider — causing thousands of extra trips each day.
Ride-hailing companies say the changes would make trips to the airport more expensive and less convenient.
“Today Massport approved an untested concept that will cost the airport millions of dollars, likely lead to mass confusion and result in rideshare passengers paying more and getting less,” Uber spokesperson Harry Hartfield said in a statement after the vote Thursday.
“Time and time again we offered solutions that would have reduced congestion, at almost no cost to the airport, but time and time again the airport refused to consider alternatives – going so far as to prevent an Uber representative from even speaking at today’s meeting.”
There has been no comment yet from Lyft.
Massport says Thursday’s vote is a step toward decreasing traffic congestion.
“Year over year, we’ve grown over 30-percent on our largest, most disruptive mode of transportation. We can’t just sit idly by and have the gridlock continue to get worse,” said Dan Gallagher, the agency’s Director of Aviation Business and Finance.
Taxis and limousines will be exempt from the pickup and drop-off location change, due to a lack of space in the central garage.
“One reason we cannot put them in a consolidated facility right now, is just sheer capacity and volume. The volume of the central facility cannot handle both taxis and TNC’s at this time. Our long-range goal is to have one center, for all of those modes of transportation,” Gallagher said.
The lack of early morning arrivals will allow ride shares to have curbside service during slower hours.
“During the hours of 4 a.m. and 10 a.m., 75-percent of that traffic is all departing. Only 25-percent of that traffic is arriving. We do have capacity on our arrivals curb, so we are simple better utilizing that asset,” said Dan Gallagher, the agency’s Director of Aviation Business and Finance.
“I think it’s a great idea,” limo driver Eileen Turcotte told WBZ-TV. “Nothing against Uber or anything, but there has to be some organization to it.”
Erin O’Shea, a former airline employee, disagreed.
“I just think this is their way of getting control of what they want for Logan Airport.” said O’Shea. “I think it’s very frustrating and a disservice to everyone who wants to come travel to Boston.”
Riders with disabilities would still be able to receive curbside service and direct access to the terminals.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)