Should Bus Riders Skip Airport Security Line?
They do at Boston's airport. Why not at Milwaukee's?
Would you like to save money and skip to the front of the security line the next time you fly?
Passengers at Boston’s Logan Airport will soon be able to do just that as part of a proposal to improve the efficiency of the airport. Riders who take the Logan Express bus line from downtown Boston will be given a ticket to skip to the front of security checkpoint lines at the congested airport. The move comes after Massachusetts Port Authority recently approved a ban on curbside dropoffs from Lyft and Uber during peak periods, instead redirecting them to a dropoff point.
“By making Logan Express more attractive, we want more passengers to choose these options and help us reduce the traffic congestion we’re experiencing in and around the airport,” said Ed Freni, aviation director at the Massachusetts Port Authority, to the Boston Globe in April. “Adding the priority line at the checkpoint is a great opportunity for people to move quickly.” Fares on the Logan Express have been cut from $7.50 each way to $3 for a round trip.
The GreenLine, which connects Bayshore Town Center, Whitefish Bay, Shorewood, the East Side, Downtown, Walker’s Point and Bay View with the airport, provides 4,800-weekday rides, but only 120 to or from the airport. Route 80, which connects the city’s far northwest side via W. Villard Ave. and N. Green Bay Ave., with Downtown, the airport and Oak Creek via 6th Street, provides 4,600-weekday rides, but only 150 to the airport.
And while Milwaukee’s airport has far less congestion than Boston, the cost savings to passengers could be significant.
Rides on MCTS cost $2.25 ($2 if you pay with the smartphone app or MCard) compared to an estimate of $19.36 from 100 E. Wisconsin Ave. or $25.31 from Bayshore Town Center via Uber. Driving alone would costs at least $8 per day in parking fees.
A roundtrip from Glendale to the airport would cost a solo passenger over $50 via Uber or Lyft, while the same trip on MCTS would cost $4. Yes, the bus trip takes longer, but skipping to the front of the security line could save a substantial amount of time and alleviate one of the worst parts of flying.
MCTS has already taken a handful of steps to make the experience more welcoming. Riders can purchase fares from a vending machine in the baggage claim and watch a real-time countdown clock to see when the bus next arrives. Signage has been added to the airport in recent years to guide passengers to the bus stop.
If Milwaukee County, which owns and operates both the airport and transit system, wants to save passengers a lot of money and increase the use of its buses, adopting the Boston approach and launching a marketing campaign for the change could pay dividends.