One of the best forms of transportation to and from an airport—at least, for the person flying—is by a car that someone else is driving. You don’t have to worry about missing a shuttle, parking fees, hauling bags forever or any of that. But, because we can’t have nice things, a Boston airport wants to mess it all up.
The Boston Globe reports that the Massachusetts Port Authority, which owns three airports in the state, agreed to study the effects of charging a fee to cars picking up and dropping off airline passengers at its Logan International Airport in Boston. The study should run until July 2019, but the Globe and other outlets didn’t report exactly how the study going to go down.
Perhaps the weirdest thing about the fee proposal is how the Globe reports that Massport did it in conjunction with an environmental group that’s “seeking to curb congestion and air pollution.” The airport’s added more than 15,000 flights annually over the past couple of years, the Globe reports, and the environmental group thinks the more than 20,000 cars picking up and dropping off passengers each day could be reduced by charging people to do it.
In return for charging people and helping our green earth, the environmental group said it wouldn’t object to the airport’s expensive plan to add thousands of parking spaces.
You know how people make their way into parking spaces? By driving cars, and, usually, producing emissions. Sure, the car doesn’t have to make a round trip each time a passenger is picked up or dropped off, but adding 5,000 parking spaces isn’t the best plan of attack, either. From the Boston Globe:
Massport, which runs the airport, agreed to study the fee as part of a broad truce with the environmental group. CLF, meanwhile, agreed not to oppose the agency’s $250 million plan to add 5,000 parking spaces at Logan if Massport examined other measures to reduce auto emissions at the airport. ...
... The new parking spaces, the agency argues, may actually result in fewer cars; pick-ups and drop-offs can involve up to four trips in and out of the airport, two for a departing flight and two for a returning arrival, while people driving and parking their own cars come in and out once.
The Boston Globe added that most of us Americans have had rather cushy airport experiences up until now, since some other places in the world already make people pay to be dropped off and picked up at airports. From the Globe:
Such fees are not unusual elsewhere in the world, especially in the United Kingdom, where more than a dozen airports have implemented tolls over the last decade. It’s rare in the United States, though some transportation specialists predict such tolls are destined to make their way across the pond. ...
In the United Kingdom, charges tend to range between $1.30 and $5. Mundy said these airports have not published much information about whether the fees are having the intended effect. But a 2015 study of congestion at London’s Heathrow Airport suggested the fees need to be closer to $15 to affect drivers’ behavior.
If the future involves paying an extra $15 to be dropped off and then potentially subjected to various horrors once in the airport or on a flight, maybe we’re all better off walking. Forever. And never actually getting to the terminal.