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Free Silver Line Rides from Logan to Continue Through September Program Shaves Almost Two Minutes off 10 minute Route; More Ridership Data Needed
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Port Authority announced today that it was extending through the month of September the popular free Silver Line service from Boston Logan International Airport to South Station and the MBTA’s Red Line rapid transit system.
The pilot program started June 6 and was initiated to improve terminal curbside traffic flow, further increase Logan’s national leadership in promoting high occupancy vehicle (HOV) usage and heighten awareness of public transit options to and from Boston Logan.
“Moving passengers quickly and efficiently to their destinations is one of our top priorities at MassDOT,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey, who is Chairman of the Massport Board. “This program is a great example of the kind of collaboration that transportation reform has made possible, and I am glad to see that it is already producing positive results.”
“The program is yielding operational and customer service benefits and we are still collecting passenger and travel time data, but preliminary results are positive,’’ said David S. Mackey, Interim CEO & Executive Director of Massport. “We are seeing quicker trips and buses spending less time stopped at the curb because all three doors can be used by passengers, rather than having them queue to pay when boarding.’’
Observers compared Silver Line service during four days in May with four days in June after the free service started and found that the buses were spending, on average, about 20 seconds less at each stop on airport. The biggest impact was between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. when the average time to complete the five terminal airport circuit of arriving at Terminal A and departing Terminal E decreased 116 seconds. Overall, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. the on-airport circuit decreased on average by 79 seconds.
Massport wants to get more data over a longer period of time to try and determine if the free program is propelling ridership growth faster than the normal year-over-year growth on the Silver Line. Additionally, more data collection is needed to determine if there are significant shifts in ridership and if existing service would need to be augmented.
A limited survey of 193 passengers found more out-of-towners are using the Silver Line than local residents and the majority of the respondents (66 percent) were on leisure trips. Some respondents said if the service were not free they would have taken a cab to reach their destination.
Improved signage highlighting that no fare would be collected on the Silver Line was put in place at fare card machines in the terminals and at the terminal curbs.
The Silver Line, which started service in 2006, is a keystone in Massport’s efforts to promote HOV ridership to and from the airport to reduce congestion at the terminal curbs and on airport roadways, as well as reduce vehicle emissions. Massport purchased eight clean-fuel Silver Line buses for the MBTA in 2005.
Boston Logan, 15 minutes from the intersection of Route 128 and I-90 and five minutes from downtown Boston, serves as the gateway to the New England region and offers nonstop service to 72 domestic and 31 international destinations and in 2011 handled 28.9 million passengers. Boston Logan is the Air Line Pilot Association’s Airport of the Year for 2008 because of its commitment to safety. Over the past decade, the airport spent $4.5 billion on a modernization program that includes new terminals, public transportation access, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has been transformed into a world-class 21st Century facility. The airport generates $7 billion in total economic impact each year.
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The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, public terminals in the Port of Boston, Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional Airport. Massport is a financially self-sustaining public authority whose premier transportation facilities generate more than $8 billion annually, and enhance and enable economic growth and vitality in New England. No state tax dollars are used to fund operations or capital improvements at Massport facilities.