US Airports and Transit Connections

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,735
Location
x
MIA and BOS, but one needs to take the MIAMover to the Tri-Rail terminal at MIA.
And every time I arrive MIA on AA, it seems like I have to take almost a dozen moving walkways and elevators from baggage claim to even get to that MIAMover...🥴
 

me_little_me

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,626
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.
Okay, it has a few steps to baggage claim for EIGHTY-EIGHT or more PERCENT of the passengers!
 

anumberone

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
3,147
Location
Los Angeles
Los Angeles has the Flyaway shuttle between LAX and LAUS every 20 minutes. Fast, cheap, efficient.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jis

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,293
Location
Denver
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.
The A-Line can't get any closer at DIA because Level 1 was originally planned to be the rental car area. After the project was well underway the (major) rental car companies had a horrible thought, that without the overhead of running shuttle buses almost anybody could go into their business. They agreed to pay for the late changes to the construction project with a fee they tacked onto rentals. Level 1 became a classy parking area. By the time the rail line was designed the mass security checks were in place in the terminal building so there was no point to bypassing the terminal structure and tunneling to the three concourses.
 

Blackwolf

Conductor
Joined
Nov 12, 2011
Messages
1,517
Location
CIC
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.
I wasn't comparing SFO, or any North American airport to ones in other continents, for good reason. When it it comes to transit, the US is complete garbage! Alas, at least SFO and OAK have physical transit connections. SJC requires a bus transfer from the closest light rail.

And my closest airport, SMF, has no usable transit. At all! Sure, YoloBus and SacRT have bus lines that serve the airport... They're not really usable. You either drive or taxi/Uber/Lyft.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,735
Location
x
I will often use the "el cheapo" way to get from an airport to downtown, if traveling 'light', alone, and not in a hurry...
For example, I use the SamTrans local bus, senior fare was just a buck from SFO to downtown.
Or the TNJ local bus from EWR to Penn Station, Newark, then the PATH train to New York City....:)
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
303
Cleveland has the train right to the terminal if I remember correctly. (It's been a while)
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
303
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.
Same can be said for ORD, you have to take the people mover to get to the international terminal but walk to all the domestic. Frustrates me every time to fly out of the international terminal because the L goes by it before going underground to the station. A new stop with a walkway to the international terminal would be great.

That will change under plans to overhaul O'Hare. There will be a new "Global Terminal" located at the current terminal 2 location which will mix international and domestic for Star Alliance and One World airlines. Then Delta and sky Team airlines will move to the current international terminal, terminal 5. Lots of improvements at Terminal 5 for that, including expanded roadway access but no plans to build a new L stop. Meaning I will avoid Delta and any Sky Team airlines as much as possible.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,735
Location
x
You mean NJT Route 62, right? It will continue to be the cheapest way even after PATH is extended to EWR, unless of course NJT chooses to discontinue it.
Right...meant NJT...old habits die hard;)

Anyway, it should probably continue even if PATH is extended, since it makes stops every couple of blocks, and I believe continues on to Elizabeth after the airport. Besides carrying people within Newark, it also carries many airport workers.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,582
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Right...meant NJT...old habits die hard;)

Anyway, it should probably continue even if PATH is extended, since it makes stops every couple of blocks, and I believe continues on to Elizabeth after the airport. Besides carrying people within Newark, it also carries many airport workers.
That would be the sane thing to do, but many have difficulty assigning that attribute to many things NJT does. :D
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,293
Location
Denver
At least I didn't call it "Public Service"....😁
Hey, I rode Public Service Coordinated Transport from Fort Dix to the PABT on my way home from Germany in 1971. The NCO's at Dix had a racket going that I'll skip some details on, but they operated a limo service to EWR. There was a stampede of guys wanting to go home, willing to pay anything. One other West Coaster and I wanted to see NYC once more and like me he had figured out the racket. Our ride on PSC was way cheaper.

Going to Fort Dix in 1969 to be shipped I rode Penn Central from NYP to Trenton and then a local bus out to the post. It was pretty easy.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,735
Location
x
Hey, I rode Public Service Coordinated Transport from Fort Dix to the PABT on my way home from Germany in 1971. The NCO's at Dix had a racket going that I'll skip some details on, but they operated a limo service to EWR. There was a stampede of guys wanting to go home, willing to pay anything. One other West Coaster and I wanted to see NYC once more and like me he had figured out the racket. Our ride on PSC was way cheaper.
b
Going to Fort Dix in 1969 to be shipped I rode Penn Central from NYP to Trenton and then a local bus out to the post. It was pretty easy.
Yes....I worked in the Port Authority Bus Terminal for Continental Trailways back then...the Public Service route to Fort Dix and McGuire AFB was very busy due to the war going on, with express service around the clock. And since McGuire was a major MAC base for deployment, there was a huge amount of baggage headed there. The National Bus Traffic Association, representing the bus carrier's, arranged to handle this baggage via trucks from either New York or Philadelphia, regardless of the passenger's routing. Besides Public Service from New York and Philly, Continental Trailways ran several daily trips to Fort Dix/McGuire from Washington and Baltimore.
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,861
Location
SW ATL airport
About Atlanta international terminal connecting to MARTA. . For departing passengers as far as I know you do have to take a bus to the check in. Arriving passengers can after clearing customs go thru TSA and then catch people mover to MARTA station. Its been a while so if that is no longer a option let me know.
 

lstone19

Service Attendant
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
142
Location
Chicago area
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.
Everyone needs to take the people mover to get to Concourses B and C as the people mover is inside security and is the only way to get to them. It's more correct to say that the train drops you off near the terminal building (check-in/baggage claim) and from there you can either go through the main security checkpoint and take the people mover to any concourse (including Concourse A) or go through the secondary checkpoint that allows you to walk to Concourse A. The train station is on the south end of the terminal building while the secondary checkpoint that lets you walk to Concourse A is on the north end so walking means walking the length of the terminal building and then walking across the bridge that connects the terminal building to Concourse A. Using Google Earth, it appears to be just short of a 1/2 mile from the train station to Concourse A if you choose to walk it.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,582
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I don't think we are talking about whether you have to or may find it conveient to take an APT on the air side. There are many airports with transit terminal at the main terminal where all the checkin, baggage etc. facilities are, and then either the necessity or the possibility of taking an APT to terminal pods after you pass the security checkpoint in the main terminal. I would consider those airports as ones with excellent transit connectivity, e.g. Frankfurt am Main. Denver falls in this category.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,293
Location
Denver
Everyone needs to take the people mover to get to Concourses B and C as the people mover is inside security and is the only way to get to them. It's more correct to say that the train drops you off near the terminal building (check-in/baggage claim) and from there you can either go through the main security checkpoint and take the people mover to any concourse (including Concourse A) or go through the secondary checkpoint that allows you to walk to Concourse A. The train station is on the south end of the terminal building while the secondary checkpoint that lets you walk to Concourse A is on the north end so walking means walking the length of the terminal building and then walking across the bridge that connects the terminal building to Concourse A. Using Google Earth, it appears to be just short of a 1/2 mile from the train station to Concourse A if you choose to walk it.
I've walked it. Knowing that I was going to slide into a seat with little leg room for the Denver>Frankfurt trip I found it to be a nice walk. I skipped using the moving sidewalk.
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
811
Everyone needs to take the people mover to get to Concourses B and C as the people mover is inside security and is the only way to get to them. It's more correct to say that the train drops you off near the terminal building (check-in/baggage claim) and from there you can either go through the main security checkpoint and take the people mover to any concourse (including Concourse A) or go through the secondary checkpoint that allows you to walk to Concourse A. The train station is on the south end of the terminal building while the secondary checkpoint that lets you walk to Concourse A is on the north end so walking means walking the length of the terminal building and then walking across the bridge that connects the terminal building to Concourse A. Using Google Earth, it appears to be just short of a 1/2 mile from the train station to Concourse A if you choose to walk it.
My overall point is that there is a difference between having to make a transfer within the airport complex and having to make one several miles away and that transfer only being convenient for one agency.

SFO is what would be considered a poorly designed airport based on best design practices today vs Denver which is designed with good practices. SFO is basically a circle with arms sticking out of them with each arm having its own check in and security areas. Denver has 1 check in and security area and the terminal areas are in separate buildings. Which is better for traffic flow from the aircraft perspective since multiple planes can be moving at once and new terminals can be added as needed so long as there is space.

SFO was designed to only be accessed by cars. Not to mention it’s not in a great layout for planes either, but that is a different discussion. My secondary point is that SFO being circular in shape, there is no 1 location a train station could have been tacked on decades later where it would be convenient for everyone. The smarter option would have been to found a place to stick a second station for the cost of the Millbrae part of the extension or at least not an outrageous amount more. Denver on the other hand, only have 1 main check in and security area frankly would have had as hard of a time screwing up the locations of a rail station as SFO and BART would have had satisfying most people who would be using the airport. There is always going to be a contingent of people unwilling to walk x number of feet before a transit extension is personally seen as a waste of money by this hypothetical person that would have probably driven anyways.

Oakland on the other other hand, has a really bad connection. Not only do you have to deal with going up or down stairs with luggage at your starting station, but you will have to go up a second flight of stairs with your luggage, to ride a people mover, go down yet more stairs to walk to the check in area. And this is assuming you took BART and not Amtrak. The airBART thing was built just to say there is a connection to Oakland Airport and not for it to be a useful part of the system.

While I may consider Oakland the better airport, it’s transit connection by far is the worst. I personally dislike flying through DIA, but that has more to do with it feeling like a mall than an airport. It frankly has a really useful transit connection which is good in my opinion.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,918
St. Louis Missouri and Tacoma / Seattle Washington have convenient light rail connections as well. Both also connect the airports to the Amtrak Stations.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,582
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
St. Louis Missouri and Tacoma / Seattle Washington have convenient light rail connections as well. Both also connect the airports to the Amtrak Stations.
I would not characterize the light rail connection at Seatac as convenient. Walking endlessly through parking structures to get to it is not my idea of convenient. It is of course good that you can get to it eventually. 🤷‍♂️
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,918
I would not characterize the light rail connection at Seatac as convenient. Walking endlessly through parking structures to get to it is not my idea of convenient. It is of course good that you can get to it eventually. 🤷‍♂️
It’s been a few years but I remember it being pretty simple. Maybe I was just happy to be getting on the Starlight that morning! (With pacific parlour car of course!)
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,582
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
It’s been a few years but I remember it being pretty simple. Maybe I was just happy to be getting on the Starlight that morning! (With pacific parlour car of course!)
Yes, it is simple in the same sense that it is simple to walk from Columbus Circle to Penn Station. 😬 Indeed with the Parlour Car carrot hanging in front almost anything would seem simple. I do agree with that part.
 

Trogdor

BURNiNATOR
Joined
Aug 3, 2004
Messages
5,799
Location
Here
It’s difficult to get a good, close airport station if the line itself is designed/intended to go beyond the airport. Seattle is reasonably convenient to the airport, but does require a long walk. On the other hand, while certainly a major destination, the Link light rail goes beyond SeaTac airport and thus, in order to be convenient for non-airport passengers, doesn’t go right up to the terminal.

SFO is an interesting one. Besides the points already made, I’d say their nonsensical service pattern could have been improved if they had made San Bruno the main Caltrain connection instead of Millbrae. The BART tracks cross over the Caltrain tracks just south of the existing San Bruno station. Caltrain does have a San Bruno stop, but it’s not conveniently connected to BART. One of the biggest failings in terms of airport connection was not making it convenient for people riding Caltrain from the south to access SFO via BART. Until a couple of years ago, you could not ride directly to SFO from Millbrae on weekdays before 7 pm, because the Millbrae and SFO trains were on different routes. Off peak service combined the two, meaning through riders had to make the long, time-wasting deviation via SFO.

They recently added SFO-Millbrae shuttle trains to fill in the gap. This would be completely unnecessary if Caltrain and BART had a better connection than Millbrae (and this would help not only those going to the airport from the south, but also those who make Caltrain/BART connections as part of their regular daily commute, because they’d have twice as much BART service they could ride).
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,582
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
It’s difficult to get a good, close airport station if the line itself is designed/intended to go beyond the airport. Seattle is reasonably convenient to the airport, but does require a long walk. On the other hand, while certainly a major destination, the Link light rail goes beyond SeaTac airport and thus, in order to be convenient for non-airport passengers, doesn’t go right up to the terminal.
Another example of such is the WMATA Silver Line at Dulles. The airport station is across a large parking lot from the famous Eero Saarinen designed terminal building.

But then again Dulles is just goofy all around. The oddly positioned Terminal C APM station is a longish walk away from the main terminal. Of course it is done that way because some day there will be a concourse built around where the station is. The good thing is that Terminal C has its own C&I processing facility for connecting flights, so you don't have to go for a hike half way across Virginia just to get C&I processed after arriving on a United international flight only to take the same hike back for the domestic flight. 🤷‍♂️
 
Top