With commuters again flooding the highways in and out of Boston to work every day and the worst constraints of the pandemic lifted, it’s time Massport looked closely at treating residents north of Boston fairly.
When the pandemic began, all Logan Express bus service shut down, along with most everything else. Massport had been looking at its Logan Express lines before the pandemic and determined the Peabody to Boston run had the lowest ridership. But now that the worst of the pandemic is over and other Logan Express lines are running again, Massport continues to keep service from Peabody shut down, forcing people in this region to find alternative (and more expensive) bus service, drive all the way into Logan themselves, or drive to Woburn and use that Logan Express line and parking area.
All of those options are inconvenient and, in some cases, very expensive, especially since Massport also shut down the economy lots at the airport and forces everyone to use the more-expensive Central Parking garage or Terminal B parking.
A Massport spokeswoman said this week the authority continues to look at possibly expanding Logan Express bus options, but she also said consumer demand for flights out of Logan is still down, as much as 30% from pre-pandemic levels.
This approach is puzzling, though, since studying demand from north of Boston travelers for return of the Peabody Logan Express service would require the service to be operating. You can’t really judge demand without running a bus service and counting how many people use it and when.
The rationale for closing the economy parking lot was that the drop in airline passengers didn’t justify the cost of running shuttle buses from the outer lots. In both of these cases — regular early morning through late night bus service to and from Logan, and affordable long-term airport parking — we believe consumers will take advantage of them if the options are there.
To continue limiting public transportation options forces more people to drive to the airport. Then, charging $38 per day to park with no cheaper, long-term option is unfair to consumers and goes against the idea of public transit as more environmentally friendly.
Massport should be able to do better.