US Airports and Transit Connections

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saxman

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I found this article interesting as I'm always trying to take transit from airports and seeing what's well integrated and what's not. I didn't realize passenger facility charges (PFC's) were blocked from going to transit systems serving the airport. I did find it odd that the author made it seem like so many US airports have train to train systems, when it's not all that many. I guess you could include some shuttle bus to train to be one though. Now it looks like PFC's can go toward transit connections to airports.

U.S. Airports No Longer Have to Build Their Own Terrible Trains
 

jis

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I guess PANYNJ can now give the median of the Van Wyck Expressway back to NYSDOT and lease it back from them for $1 per year or some thing like that. 🤪 It was one of the more convoluted real estate deals to satisfy the bogus requirement of the airport tax usage regulation to enable construction of the JFK Air Train to Jamaica LIRR.

I wonder if PANYNJ will take this opportunity to use some of the Newark Airport tax money to fund the extension of PATH to EWR.
 

Blackwolf

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Having grown up in the SF Bay Area, I remember with some fanfare the "Big Deal" that having BART connect directly to SFO was. It was a watershed moment, taking one of the first BART trains that ran in June of 2003, when I was able to step right from a train and into the International Terminal without having to perform a transfer-within-a-transfer to do so (looking at you JFK and EWR).
 

MARC Rider

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Having grown up in the SF Bay Area, I remember with some fanfare the "Big Deal" that having BART connect directly to SFO was. It was a watershed moment, taking one of the first BART trains that ran in June of 2003, when I was able to step right from a train and into the International Terminal without having to perform a transfer-within-a-transfer to do so (looking at you JFK and EWR).
I don't know how much different it is. You have to take the Airtrain from the actual airline terminals to the BART Station.

Let's see, the airports with trains inside the terminals not requiring a people mover to connect from the train to the terminal:

Philadelphia - SEPTA
Denver - A line
Chicago - Blue Line L
Washington National - Metro
Dulles -- Metro (when the Silver Line extension actually opens)

Any others?
 

Maglev

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joelkfla

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I found this article interesting as I'm always trying to take transit from airports and seeing what's well integrated and what's not. I didn't realize passenger facility charges (PFC's) were blocked from going to transit systems serving the airport. I did find it odd that the author made it seem like so many US airports have train to train systems, when it's not all that many. I guess you could include some shuttle bus to train to be one though. Now it looks like PFC's can go toward transit connections to airports.

U.S. Airports No Longer Have to Build Their Own Terrible Trains
Frankly, the author sounds like a crank.
 
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joelkfla

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I don't know how much different it is. You have to take the Airtrain from the actual airline terminals to the BART Station.

Let's see, the airports with trains inside the terminals not requiring a people mover to connect from the train to the terminal:

Philadelphia - SEPTA
Denver - A line
Chicago - Blue Line L
Washington National - Metro
Dulles -- Metro (when the Silver Line extension actually opens)

Any others?
I don't see the problem if a people mover transfer is required when the station is close to the terminal complex. They usually run every 5 minutes or less, and the ride is rarely more than 10 minutes. They're always easily accessible, with elevators and level boarding.

Most large airports have multiple terminals, anyway. Even if transit goes directly to a terminal, you'd still have to get to another terminal depending on which airline.

I'm not talking about set-ups like JFK or EWR, where the transit station is off property. But at SFO, where the station is right next to the terminal, it just doesn't matter.
 

Blackwolf

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I don't know how much different it is. You have to take the Airtrain from the actual airline terminals to the BART Station.

Let's see, the airports with trains inside the terminals not requiring a people mover to connect from the train to the terminal:

Philadelphia - SEPTA
Denver - A line
Chicago - Blue Line L
Washington National - Metro
Dulles -- Metro (when the Silver Line extension actually opens)

Any others?
Eh, I don't really know what you're referring to here. The BART station is -literally- inside Terminal G at SFO. You take a left at the security screening and walk 400 feet. It really doesn't get much closer... Anywhere.

And one doesn't have to take AirTrain. It's semi-convinient, especially if you're traveling from/to Terminals 1 & 2 (though 1 will be easy to access by foot hopefully by year's end after construction completes). But you can walk to every terminal from the station land-side. Since most of my travel involving SFO is on United and Air Canada, I've used the AirTrain exactly once in 17 years.

Really, I find SFO to be a small airport that is easily walkable to/from BART.

It's pretty good by North American standards.
 

jebr

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I don't know how much different it is. You have to take the Airtrain from the actual airline terminals to the BART Station.

Let's see, the airports with trains inside the terminals not requiring a people mover to connect from the train to the terminal:

Philadelphia - SEPTA
Denver - A line
Chicago - Blue Line L
Washington National - Metro
Dulles -- Metro (when the Silver Line extension actually opens)

Any others?
MSP doesn't require a people mover. Terminal 2 doesn't even have one to use, and Terminal 1 can be accessed a couple different ways without one - if you don't need to check bags and the Skyway Checkpoint is open, then you can simply go up to the skyway level and go through security there. Otherwise, there is a walking path (at least before the recent remodel - not sure if it's there now) through some parking lots over to the check-in area. Most people would use the every-two-minute, one-minute-ride people mover, though.

In fact, the local light rail could arguably be considered part of the airport's people mover system - the airport considers the Blue Line between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 the way to transfer between terminals, and there's no fare charged between those two stations. Since it's a proof-of-payment system, trains can run through without worrying about how to handle fares for that segment - tickets simply aren't checked between those two stations.
 

CTANut

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I don't know how much different it is. You have to take the Airtrain from the actual airline terminals to the BART Station.

Let's see, the airports with trains inside the terminals not requiring a people mover to connect from the train to the terminal:

Philadelphia - SEPTA
Denver - A line
Chicago - Blue Line L
Washington National - Metro
Dulles -- Metro (when the Silver Line extension actually opens)

Any others?
Cleveland.
 

saxman

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MSP doesn't require a people mover. Terminal 2 doesn't even have one to use, and Terminal 1 can be accessed a couple different ways without one - if you don't need to check bags and the Skyway Checkpoint is open, then you can simply go up to the skyway level and go through security there. Otherwise, there is a walking path (at least before the recent remodel - not sure if it's there now) through some parking lots over to the check-in area. Most people would use the every-two-minute, one-minute-ride people mover, though.

In fact, the local light rail could arguably be considered part of the airport's people mover system - the airport considers the Blue Line between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 the way to transfer between terminals, and there's no fare charged between those two stations. Since it's a proof-of-payment system, trains can run through without worrying about how to handle fares for that segment - tickets simply aren't checked between those two stations.
MSP is one of my favorites in how it connects to the LRT. Just go up a few flights to the Skyway (if its open) and you can be inside the terminal pretty quickly. The land side people mover would still exist without the LRT station, so it doesn't count as a "train to the train" as the article suggests, IMO. SFO is similar. Their people mover would still exist without BART. Really, the airports I can think of with a long train ride to another train is JFK, EWR, and maybe MIA. LAX will have one too soon.
 

MARC Rider

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I don't know how much different it is. You have to take the Airtrain from the actual airline terminals to the BART Station.

Let's see, the airports with trains inside the terminals not requiring a people mover to connect from the train to the terminal:

Philadelphia - SEPTA
Denver - A line
Chicago - Blue Line L
Washington National - Metro
Dulles -- Metro (when the Silver Line extension actually opens)

Any others?
BWI -- Light Rail goes right into the terminal, but MARC/Amtrak requires a (free) bus ride. How did I forget that one?
 

MARC Rider

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Eh, I don't really know what you're referring to here. The BART station is -literally- inside Terminal G at SFO. You take a left at the security screening and walk 400 feet. It really doesn't get much closer... Anywhere.
Well, that's fine if Terminal G is your destination. When I've flown in (on United), I was far enough away that I needed to use the Air Train, plus, that's where the signs directed me. If you're not familiar with an airport, you can easily get disoriented, so even if some destination is technically walkable, you might not know that, and all you can do is follow the signs.

I was also a little miffed that the fare was pretty pricey for a BART ride, kind of like what NJT does for their fares to Newark Airport.
 

jis

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Well, that's fine if Terminal G is your destination. When I've flown in (on United), I was far enough away that I needed to use the Air Train, plus, that's where the signs directed me. If you're not familiar with an airport, you can easily get disoriented, so even if some destination is technically walkable, you might not know that, and all you can do is follow the signs.

I was also a little miffed that the fare was pretty pricey for a BART ride, kind of like what NJT does for their fares to Newark Airport.
Indeed. I was a frequent flier through SFO on United since the corporate HQ of the company I worked for was in Silicon Gulch. Leaving aside the times I used SFO with a rental car, which of course absolutely requires the use of Air Train, even when I did arrive there via Caltrain/BART, I always tended to take the Airtrain from Terminal G to the next stop to get to my United flight. While theoretically I could walk, I never opted for that. Each to his/her own I suppose.

The design of BART access to SFO IMHO is one of the poorer ones for transit access to airports, and really is far from as convenient as places like Amsterdam or Frankfurt, where the main suburban and intercity line is in the basement of the main terminal. Actually Oakland access using its Air Train is better IMHO.
 

me_little_me

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The design of BART access to SFO IMHO is one of the poorer ones for transit access to airports, and really is far from as convenient as places like Amsterdam or Frankfurt, where the main suburban and intercity line is in the basement of the main terminal. Actually Oakland access using its Air Train is better IMHO.
You don't have to go to Frankfurt. Atlanta MARTA's entrance/exit is but a few steps from baggage claim and not much more to the ticket counters and on the same level as both. Escalators to trains a few steps from the station entrance gates.
 

jis

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Which raises a question in my mind. Hypothetically, if the JFK Air Train was run by the MTA and not PANYNJ would that count as a Transit and not an Airport Circulator? Would that change the status of Transit access to JFK viz-a-viz the question being discussed here?
 

railiner

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Which raises a question in my mind. Hypothetically, if the JFK Air Train was run by the MTA and not PANYNJ would that count as a Transit and not an Airport Circulator? Would that change the status of Transit access to JFK viz-a-viz the question being discussed here?
If the MTA did run the JFK Air Train, the “free zone” would be the only free ride on the entire MTA...
 

Devil's Advocate

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Do PFC funding restrictions also help explain why so many US airport "trains" run on tires and aren't really trains at all? Or is US light rail construction is so expensive that even bespoke one-off trams are genuinely cheaper?
 

Seaboard92

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You don't have to go to Frankfurt. Atlanta MARTA's entrance/exit is but a few steps from baggage claim and not much more to the ticket counters and on the same level as both. Escalators to trains a few steps from the station entrance gates.
It really depends which side your baggage claim is. As ATL has two terminals and the MARTA only services the Domestic side. Anything on the International Side requires a bus ride to the Domestic Side to reach the MARTA.
 

jis

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If the MTA did run the JFK Air Train, the “free zone” would be the only free ride on the entire MTA...
Staten Island Ferry?

While not specifically MTA, strategic fare free segments are not unheard of.

But either way, my original question still remains, since it has not much to do with whether a fare is collected or not for the segment within the airport. Its main focus is on the Jamaica to Airport segment (and Howard Beach to Airport segment too).
 
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sttom

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The design of BART access to SFO IMHO is one of the poorer ones for transit access to airports, and really is far from as convenient as places like Amsterdam or Frankfurt, where the main suburban and intercity line is in the basement of the main terminal. Actually Oakland access using its Air Train is better IMHO.
I very much have a love/hate relationship with Oakland Airport. My 2 most recent flights were out of it, I drove once and took transit the other time. I personally dislike taking transit to Oakland, transit's only saving grace is I'm too cheap to pay for parking. Having done the transit connection for both BART and Amtrak, having to make a transfer either way is a real pain. The Amtrak connection is the worse of the two since you have to lug your stuff a block from the BART station to the Amtrak station. I understand that the airBART thing was cheaper than a real BART extension and infrastructure projects in California are way more expensive, but having an extension with incompatible infrastructure is another league of poor planning. But poor planning and bloated transit project budgets are par for the course here. I personally find the transfer at Oakland infuriating considering how small Oakland is compared to SFO.

With SFO, its big enough and built enough for there not to be a 100% convenient place to put a station for everyone. But at SFO, the train stops where the airport begins. I can transfer to a people mover if I want to or I can walk if I want to. Even at DIA, the train drops you off near Terminal A and you need to take the people mover if you are going to Terminals B or C. I guess my personal standard would be do you need to transfer and where does the transfer occur. If I have to transfer in the airport I can live with it, if I have to transfer a few miles away, I have a bigger problem with need to transfer.
 

Palmetto

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MIA and BOS, but one needs to take the MIAMover to the Tri-Rail terminal at MIA.
 
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