SF airport ride-hailing experiment called ‘hot mess’

San Francisco International Airport launched a centralized pickup location for ride-hailing apps last month, and news reports are calling it a “hot mess” during evening hours.

Officials at Logan International Airport in Boston are keeping a close eye on what’s happening in San Francisco because they are preparing for their own experiment – the consolidation of all ride-hailing pickups and a large percentage of drop-offs in the first floor of the central parking garage starting in October.

Both airports are struggling to reduce congestion around the terminals. San Francisco tried a number of measures to divert Uber and Lyft pickups away from the curb, but those only succeeded in reducing curbside pickups by about 21 percent. (The goal was 45 percent.) So on June 3 all pickups were moved to the top of the hourly parking garage.

After some initial confusion, the new system has worked well during the day, but at night – between 8 and 11 p.m. – and particularly on Sunday nights, Uber and Lyft drivers have had trouble making it through airport traffic and up the ramp to the rooftop pickup point during peak travel periods. Uber said wait times went from 8 ½ minutes on Sunday nights prior to the change to 20 to 25 minutes after the change. Ride cancellations rose from 8 percent to roughly 30 percent.

“Looks like @fly SFO took an already poor Uber/Lyft pickup process and made it worse,” one passenger tweeted.

Officials at Massport, which runs Logan, say they are paying close attention to what’s going on in San Francisco as well as several other airports around the country that are trying similar experiments. “We’ve integrated lessons learned,” said Dan Gallagher, Massport’s director of aviation business and finance.

Massport approved its anti-congestion plan in April, consolidating all pickups and those drop-offs occurring between 10 a.m. and 4 a.m. in the central parking garage, which is roughly a 10 to 15 minute walk from all terminals. Curbside drop-offs for the ride-hailing apps will continue to be allowed mornings from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m., but only at the arrival level. Roughly 40 percent of Logan’s flights, most of them departures, occur during that early morning period. (Taxis are not affected by any of the proposed changes.)

Uber and Lyft customers currently pay $3.25 for pickups, but the new plan calls for them to pay $3.25 for drop-offs, too. The extra money will be used to finance free buses to the airport from Back Bay and North Station.

Massport says it plans to recreate a curbside experience for ride-hailing passengers inside the garage, with the ability to check baggage. Uber and Lyft drivers dropping off arriving passengers inside the garage will also be able to travel a short distance and pick up passengers waiting to leave the airport, an attempt to cut down on cars circling through the terminal area.

Uber and Lyft drivers will have their own lane coming into the garage at Logan so they won’t have to contend with other vehicles pulling into the facility. That lane and other alterations to the garage are currently under construction.

Uber and Lyft fought Massport’s initial anti-congestion proposal, and succeeded in scaling back the fee from $5 to $3.25 and securing morning drop-offs at the terminal curbs. Gallagher said Massport has been working closely with Uber and Lyft on the changes and both companies are now comfortable with the design.

“They were not happy with losing the curb,” he said. “We need to add more curb and this is a way to add curb.”

–BRUCE MOHL

 

BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker says he is developing a “cure plan” for Vineyard Wind to address the concerns of federal agencies as they review the environmental impact statement of the offshore wind project. (CommonWealth) Baker also says his administration will fully cooperate with a legislative oversight hearing scheduled for today on the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  (CommonWealth)

The number of children who have died while under the oversight of the Department of Children and Families has fallen, but the state says it hasn’t determined whether the 34 deaths in fiscal year 2019 were due to neglect or abuse. (Boston Globe)

US Reps. Lori Trahan and Ayanna Pressley back legislation restricting the use of non-disclosure agreements, a measure pushed by Democratic state Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Republican Rep. Alyson Sullivan. (CommonWealth)

The House plans to vote on a child wellness bill before the chamber takes a summer recess. (CommonWealth)

A legislative committee heard testimony on marijuana social consumption and host community agreements. (MassLive)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The daughter-in-law of late Boston mayor Tom Menino took the stand as a prosecution witness in the federal extortion trial of two aides to current Mayor Marty Walsh. (Boston Globe) Joe Battenfeld calls it “Revenge of the Menino,” citing the bad blood between the camps of the city’s longest-serving mayor and the man who succeeded him in office. (Boston Herald)

Beverly City Councilor Estelle Rand is in the process of formalizing the arrangement between the city and the farmer’s market she runs on city-owned land to try to avoid a conflict of interest. (Salem News)

Public bus drivers are back to work Tuesday on Martha’s Vineyard after a monthlong strike that capped their five-year effort to sign a collective bargaining agreement with employer Transit Connection Inc. (Cape Cod Times)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Trump continued his effort to dial up racial tensions by lashing out against minority leaders, charging that Rev. Al Sharpton — with whom he used to hang out and attend boxing matches — “Hates Whites & Cops.” (New York Times)

Stonewalling by Trump administration officials helped convince Congresswoman Lori Trahan to support an impeachment inquiry, which could lead to impeachment, which Trahan also supports. (WGBH) Peter Lucas credits Dan Koh with shifting Trahan’s position on impeachment, and ponders whether Koh will challenge her in the 2020 Democratic primary. (Lowell Sun)

Capital One announced Monday that a hacker had accessed about 100 million of its credit card applications, and investigators say thousands of Social Security and bank account numbers were also taken. (Washington Post) 

ELECTIONS

The Democrats’ leading liberal candidates for president, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, will share the stage at tonight’s round one of the latest Democratic primary debates, with Politico asking whether their “awkward truce” will continue.

Housing costs are emerging as an issue in the Democratic contest. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

First-time home buyers have a tough market to break into, and now real estate investors known as “flippers” are making the process more difficult. (Brockton Enterprise) 

EDUCATION

The number of school bullying incidents statewide dropped 13 percent from the 2014-2015 school year to the 2017-2018 school year. (Gloucester Daily Times)

Some parents gave up custody of their children in high school so they could carry out a scheme to qualify for financial aid. (ProPublica)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

David Ortiz is out of the hospital about a month and a half after he was shot in the Dominican Republic. (WBUR)

TRANSPORTATION 

WBUR found a bunch of proposed ads that the MBTA refused to put up because they were too sexual or political.

Former governor Michael Dukakis brings his campaign to link North Station and South Station to a Boston City Council hearing on the issue. (Boston Globe)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The McGrath House in Boston’s South End is the state’s only women-only reentry facility for offenders leaving prison or out on probation or parole. Should there be McGrath Houses across the state? (CommonWealth)

A mother, son, and daughter working at a dry cleaners in Medford are arrested and accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman for most of a day. (Wicked Local Medford)

Gladys Araceli Ceron, a North Andover woman who was caught on a wire arranging buttock and facial injections, is facing federal charges for allegedly using cosmetic silicon that can cause a stroke or disfigurement. (Salem News)

Daniel Viveiros, 30, was sentenced to serve 25 to 35 years in state prison after being convicted of raping and sexually molesting a pre-teen relative on a daily basis for about two years. (Standard-Times)