Boston’s Logan Airport will study charging drivers who pick up or drop off passengers. In exchange, an environmental group won’t oppose the airport adding parking.
- Environmental groups don’t generally like parking, it means cars, cars mean pollution (they don’t like airports either)
- But they like parking more than pickups and dropoffs, which double the number of car trips
The airport removes a bureaucratic impediment to developing parking, and if they ultimately adopt the fee they get more money too while the environmental opposition to airport growth gets to tax passengers in hopes of encouraging them to take public transit.
Copyright: boscorelli / 123RF Stock Photo
Passengers aren’t just going to object to the fee, but the fee upon a fee because drivers departing Logan either heading South or West are paying tolls (for the harbor tunnels) as it is.
This seems on face shocking to some, however businesses frequently pay an airport fee already — whether it’s taxis or Uber, or hotel or rental car shuttles. Usually passengers aren’t charged, but commercial vehicles on airport property frequently are.
It’s actually not unprecedented to charge passengers who are dropping off passengers: DFW airport’s access road has a toll and driving through in under 8 minutes costs $4. Several years ago they raised the price from $1 to $2, but gave a $1 discount for using an automated toll tag. They not only raised the price from $2 to $4, but eliminated that discount as well.
They’ve set it up with that 8 minute cutoff so that commuters using the access road pay more than passengers.
These fees are common in the UK.
Airports usually justify the fee as:
- Limiting congestion. If people have to pay to drive onto the airport grounds, fewer of them will do it (pushing people to car pool, use public transit, or shuttle on in a group from off airport).
- Raise revenue for airport investment. All they’re saying there is that it’s a source of money and they need money.
In the case of this second argument, they’re in a position to extract rents and they choose a variety of ways to do that. It’s why higher minimum wages work at airports. The capital investment has been made and is unlikely to be duplicated, so airlines and passengers are ‘stuck’ along a certain margin. Although lower cost carriers may seek less-expensive airports that are relatively nearby such as Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami so airport costs do matter.