Massport to Consider Pick Up and Drop Off Fees at Logan Airport

It's part of a deal with the Conservation Law Foundation to lower congestion and air pollution.

Photo via iStock/SPO123

If saying a tearful goodbye to your guests curbside at Logan Airport is a key part of your routine for visiting family, you may have to start paying for the privilege. In a new deal with the Conservation Law Foundation, the Massachusetts Port Authority has agreed to study the potential effects of adding a fee for drivers picking up and dropping off passengers at the airport. The goal is to reduce both congestion and air pollution. No set fee has been suggested yet, and the study is part of a compromise with the CLF over a planned addition of 5,000 parking spaces at Logan.

Similar programs have been used in the U.K., at the equivalent of about $1.30 to $5, but according to the Boston Globe, a 2015 study suggested that any potential fee would have to be a lot higher, like, say, $15, to actually discourage anyone. Which sounds about right for Bostonians, too. Would a $1 or $2 fee actually stop you from driving your mom to the airport in favor of telling her to hop on the Silver Line?

The chief executive of Massport, Thomas Glynn, sounded less than enthusiastic about the prospect when speaking to the Globe, saying, “Advocates think it will reduce pick-up and drop-off. I don’t know.” As the head of a transit agency, he is perhaps overly familiar with how the residents of this state respond to any suggestion that they change their driving habits.

But Rafael Mares, a vice president at the CLF, was more bullish on the prospect, pointing out that the real issue here is not the fee, but the increasing number of cars piling into Logan on a daily basis, which can make it hard for passengers to get to the airport in the first place. “If they’re at risk of missing a flight that costs them a lot more than ground transportation ever will, they might appreciate that these kinds of solutions will lift that stress,” Mares says. Just how bad is that traffic? The Globe says that 108,000 vehicles enter Logan on an average day.

Of course, many of you are probably taking an Uber or Lyft to the airport, given how awful the traffic is, and you know they’re adding airport fees to that fare already, right? Other options to consider: throwing a fistful of dollars into the air and walking to the airport, taking that water taxi during the 10 percent of the year the weather isn’t terrible, or giving up on leaving altogether because Massachusetts is fine, whatever, vacation is overrated.