Logan passengers can now get a Lyft

Massport set to reach agreement with other ride-hailing companies

MASSPORT HAS REACHED an agreement with Lyft to allow the ride-hailing company to operate out of Logan Airport, a move that paves the way for other transportation network companies such as Uber to pick up passengers at the terminals and take one of the last remaining lucrative routes away from Boston cabbies.

“This is something our customers requested and we’re glad to provide it as we ensure appropriate checks are in place,” Massport CEO Thomas Glynn said in a statement. “Massport staff has been working to design, produce and install wayfinding materials and train our customer service staff to assist passengers looking to utilize our newest ground transportation option.”

Starting Feb. 1, Lyft drivers who clear background checks by the Department of Public Utilities will be able to drop off and pick up passengers at Logan’s terminals as well as being able to wait in designated areas. Because of decades-old Massport regulations that only allowed Boston taxis and vehicles with livery plates to pick up passengers at Logan, Lyft was barred from operating at the East Boston airport.

“”We applaud Massport’s decision today to give the green light for Lyft to operate at Logan Airport,” Lyft spokesman Adrian Durbin said in an emailed statement. “Starting on February 1, travelers will be able to access safe, affordable Lyft rides directly from the airport.”

While the agreement signed Thursday is only with Lyft, other ride-hailing app companies are also nearing an agreement. All companies will operate with the same agreement, which includes a $3.25 fee for every ride originating out of Logan.

“Today’s Massport vote is great news for the thousands of Uber driver partners and riders across the Commonwealth who will soon have access to improved transportation options, as well as a more convenient and efficient pick up and drop off system at Boston’s Logan Airport,” an Uber spokeswoman said in an email. “We will continue to work with Massport in the coming weeks to bring UberX to Logan on February 1st.”

Up until now, Uber was restricted to only allowing their high-end UberBlack and UberSUV services to pick up at Logan because those were the only vehicles with livery plates. While passengers could request and pay for the lower UberX rate, the arrangement iced out most of the company’s 10,000 drivers from picking up at Logan.

Massport regulations had limited curbside pickup at terminals only to Boston cabbies under a nearly half-century-old deal with the taxi industry. Limos and other livery drivers were forced to wait outside the terminal areas and pick up in designated spaces. The pick-up will continue in limo areas for the ride-hailing cars for Terminal A and B but there will now be a designated area between Terminal C and E solely for those drivers. In addition, Massport will have dedicated staff to shepherd cars and passengers similar to what’s happening with cabs.

The change comes in the wake of a new law enacted last summer and signed by Gov. Charlie Baker regulating the emerging industry and allowing the app-based service to operate in the state after drivers pass comprehensive background checks. The statute directed Massport to craft new regulations that would supplant the decades-old rules that gave cabs a monopoly at the airport, where travelers form out-of-town would often be frustrated at not being able to get an Uber or Lyft.

Meet the Author

Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

“Massachusetts continues to be a leader in welcoming innovative technologies,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement. “As we continue to implement legislation that includes the nation’s strongest background check system, the agreement announced today with Massport will expand the safe and diverse transportation options available to those travelers using Boston Logan International Airport.”

The new arrangement, which will mean cheaper and more convenient rides for passengers, could be the death knell for the city’s taxi industry. Cab drivers have seen their share of riders around the city shrink dramatically since the launch of the disruptive technology but they were able to survive with the exclusive rights to Logan. That, though, will end on Feb. 1. Representatives for the Boston cab industry could not be reached immediately for comment.