The Massachusetts Port Authority has approved a plan that will radically reshape how thousands of travelers will get to and from Logan International Airport, banning Uber and Lyft rides from the curbside outside terminals during much of the day.
However, after stiff opposition from the ride-hailing companies, the agency made last-minute modest adjustments, allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to still access the terminals between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m., although at the arrivals area that has less traffic in the mornings. The agency also trimmed some of the proposed fee increases that were in the original plan.
The plan becomes effective in October, when all Uber and Lyft rides after 10 a.m. will be required to end or start at designated areas in the central parking garages. Taxis would be exempt from that requirement.
The goal is to reduce the congestion clogging the airport’s access roads, and of those in the surrounding East Boston neighborhood, by making it easier for ride-hailing drivers to quickly find a new fare instead of leaving the airport without a passenger.
In large part, officials are seeking to relieve some of the traffic outside the airport that has seen a massive influx in recent years. State Representative Adrian Madaro, who represents the region, urged the board to adopt the original proposal at the start of the meeting.
“There’s no call that I field more often in my office than congestion issues,” he said. “This will benefit residents here in East Boston.”
The changes will mark the most significant ride-hailing policy change in Massachusetts since the state Legislature passed a new law regulating the companies in 2016. Those rules were largely focused on passenger safety and background checks and did little to consider traffic mitigation — though it did give Massport the power to set its own rules for the services.
Massport had originally sought to increase pickup fees — from $3.25 to $5 — on ride-hail services and implement a new $5 fee on drop-offs. Riders would receive a discount if they used a carpool option, encouraging them to pack into fewer vehicles.
But on Thursday, officials proposed keeping the pickup fee at $3.25, adding a $3.25 drop-off fee, and discount shared trips at $1.50.
Uber and Lyft fiercely opposed the original proposal and have rallied their riders in opposition. The new pricing structure, at least, is more in line with what Uber had recommended.