MassPort Votes On Ride Sharing Changes At Logan

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — If you plan on using a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft to get to Logan Airport this fall, you can expect some changes.

The MassPort Board has voted to impose a fee of $3.25 to rides dropping off passengers at the airport, in addition to the existing fee of the same amount for rides picking passengers up.

Originally, the proposal included a $5 fee for drop-offs and pick-ups—but the Thursday vote freezes both at $3.25.

Those who pool together using the services will also pay an airport fee of $1.50 per passenger.

In addition, the board also voted to allow a six-month pilot program for curb-side drop-offs. This will be allowed between the slower hours of 4 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The original proposal would have relocated all pickups and drop offs from the curb over to the central parking garage. Uber protested, saying 10,000 of its customers signed a petition to show their disapproval.

Prior to the vote, Board Member John A. Nucci expressed disappointment about modified recommendations in the proposal to address congestion at the airport.

MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack said there needs to be balance, with solutions to relieve congestion at the airport that are still convenient for travelers. She says a reduction in so-called "deadhead" trips is necessary. That’s where cars operating for Uber and Lyft are arriving with a passenger, but departing without picking up a new one.

“The purpose of this program is to reduce deadhead trips by 3 million or more … It won’t happen overnight, but that is what we are attempting to achieve, and that’s why we need to monitor the situation,” Pollack said.

Governor Charlie Baker is backing the idea.

“A lot of that [traffic] spills into the tunnels and spills in to East Boston,” Baker said. “I think the goal is to come up with a strategy to encourage folks to use both ends of that process, the incoming piece as well as the exit—trying to do more to connect [drivers] with people who are looking to leave with people who are arriving,” he said.

MassDOT said they would review the decision in 2020 to see how it is working.

In a statement, rideshare company Uber said that these changes will cost both the airport and passengers more.

“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," the statement read. "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.”

WBZ NewsRadio's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports

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