The permit, which allows the company to drop off and pick up customers at SFO, represents the first airport TNC agreement in the state of California. Sidecar, which is headquartered in San Francisco, expects to begin operations at SFO within the next 30 days.
“SFO is one of our most in-demand places for ride requests,” Sidecar CEO Sunil Paul wrote in a blog post on the company’s website, “so we’re excited and proud to work with them to offer riders safe and affordable travel to and from the airport.”
SFO officials say permit discussions continue with other transportation network companies, including Lyft and UberX, but that so far neither have signed a permit with SFO and so are not legally allowed to operate at the Airport.
Last November, SFO came to an agreement with Relay Rides – a company that offers free airport parking, a car wash and a cut of the proceeds to travelers who let the company rent out their cars to others. A similar company, Flight Car, does not have legal permission to operate at the airport.
United Airlines has expanded its mobile app to include a link to Uber transportation services.
According to United, the app will display Uber information, including types of available vehicles, estimated wait times and prices. After you pick a ride, the United app will transfer you to the Uber app (or to the Uber website to sign up for an account) to complete the transaction.
This despite the fact that many airports around the country are having disputes with Uber and other transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Lyft and Sidecar, which operate at airports without licenses to do so.
United seems to be taking a side here, and to get you started with Uber, when you sign up for Uber via the United app you’ll get 1,000 MileagePlus award miles when you complete your first transaction (limited time offer…)
A ride on the 14 mile line will cost $2.50 for a two hour pass and $5 for a day pass.
Destinations you’ll be able to reach include, the Mustangs of Las Colinas, Irving Convention Center, Dallas Museum of Art, Perot Museum, Klyde Warren Park, the West End, American Airlines Center, Downtown Plano and more.
To accommodate airport employees and those with early morning flights, the train’s operating hours will be from 4 am to 1 am, 7 days a week.
In the United States, getting between the airport and downtown can sometimes be the most irritating part of a trip.
But when DART Rail Orange Line trains begin serving Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport later this year, Dallas will join Seattle, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta and an increasing number of other cities with rail links that make it easy for business and leisure travelers— and airport employees—to make that journey.
“The vast majority of public transport to airports is by buses,” said Deborah McElroy, executive vice president for policy and external affairs at Airports Council International-North America. “But airports are increasingly recognizing that rail transportation is favorably viewed by passengers; especially those from other countries where rail to the airport is more common.”
This summer Burbank Bob Hope Airport will open its $112 million Regional Intermodal Transportation Center directly across the street from the Bob Hope Airport Train Station, with service by commuter rail and Amtrak.
“The line runs north from Downtown L.A. through Glendale and Burbank, then turns west traversing the San Fernando Valley to Ventura County and coastal points north,” said airport spokesman Victor Gill, “and we’ve already broken ground for a second Metrolink stop directly at the airport on a separate line that runs north from Burbank to the Santa Clarita Valley (Magic Mountain territory)/Palmdale/Lancaster.”
In April 2013, the Utah Transit Authority opened Airport TRAX, a six-mile light-rail line to Salt Lake City International Airport. That was the same month Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Sky Train began service between Terminal 4 (the airport’s busiest terminal), and Valley Metro Light Rail. The free system will eventually make stops at the airport’s other terminals, but has already carried 3 million passengers, said Heather Lissner, PHX airport spokeswoman.
In addition to making it easy for travelers to get to and from the airport, Lissner says locals have been taking the Sky Train to the airport on dates. “People park in East Economy or ride the light rail to connect with the PHX Sky Train then enjoy dinner in Terminal 4 at one of our pre-security restaurants and look at the various art exhibitions in the terminal,” she said.
At Miami International Airport, a 2.4 mile Metrorail extension opened in 2012, and the airport’s Central Station should be complete by the end of 2014, adding links to Amtrak and the region’s Tri-Rail service.
By the end of 2014 the 3.2-mile, $484 million Oakland Airport Connector—a people mover linking the airport to the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART Station—is scheduled to open as well.
“We already have regular bus service between OAK and the BART station,” said Oakland International Airport spokesman Scott Winter, “but the new line will add a new level of convenience and, most importantly, reliability, as it cruises above traffic below.”
A rail link to an airport is not just convenient; according to a joint study released in November 2013 by the U.S. Travel Association and the nonprofit American Public Transportation Association (APTA), which advocates for public transportation. (APTA dates to 1882, and its initial meetings focused on the price of oats for the horses that pulled transit vehicles.) “Rail cities” can have a financial edge, the report contended.
“We found that cities with airport rail connections have a competitive advantage in generating revenues for the private sector and the overall city tax base compared to similar cities that do not have direct rail connection to the airport,” said Darnell Grisby, APTA’s director of research and policy.
The study compared hotel performance in six cities with airport rail service—Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Portland, Ore., and San Francisco—to hotel performance in popular convention cities without direct airport rail service—Las Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando, Fla., Sacramento, Calif., and Tampa, Fla.
Hotels in rail cities were found to receive nearly 11 percent more revenue per room than hotels in cities without an airport rail connection. According to the study, that higher revenue per room translates to a potential $313 million in revenue per year for the rail cities.
While cost and other concerns can be a deterrent, building a rail line to an airport can be an economic generator that makes a city more appealing to meeting, event and convention planners, said Erik Hansen, senior director of domestic policy at the U.S. Travel Association.
“The decisions of these planners can generate millions of dollars in spending at hotels and local restaurants,” said Hansen. “And if they’re going to put anywhere from 1,000 to upwards of 25,000 people on the road at a single time and have them leave an airport at a single time, they want transportation options.”
With some of those issues certainly in mind, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is moving ahead with a two-phase plan for improved rail service to Dulles International Airport that includes constructing a 23-mile extension of the existing Metrorail system.
Denver International Airport has partnered with the Regional Transportation District to add a 22.8-mile commuter rail connection from DEN to downtown Denver that is scheduled to open in 2016.
In Los Angeles, studies are underway to decide how best to connect the Metro Rail system with Los Angeles International Airport. And Orlando International Airport has announced plans to spend $470 million to build an automated people-mover system to support a variety of future travel connections, including intercity rail service between Orlando, Miami and the airport.
The people mover planned for Tampa International Airport may someday link to a regional transportation center and there’s promise of a mass transit link as part of New York City’s LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal overhaul.
“It certainly depends on the airport community and who they are competing with,” said McElroy of ACI-NA, “but a number of airports have indicated that they believe having a rail link from the airport to downtown is a key factor in being competitive in the global airport market.”
(My story about rail service to airports first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior in a slightly different version.)
Yes, it’s a promotion. And, no, you don’t need to be holding a ticket on an Alaska Airlines flight in order to take advantage of the offer:
If you’re heading to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on today or tomorrow, Dec 23 or 24, you may be able to get a free ride to the airport courtesy of Alaska Airlines and on-demand car service Uber.
During the two-day promotion, Alaska Airlines will pay for one ride, up to $50 (if the ride is more than that, you pay the difference), to shuttle travelers to the airport in a Uber town car.
Here are the details from Alaska Airlines:
Travelers can request a ride through the Uber application, which is available
for Android and iOS devices at www.uber.com/go. After entering their credit
card information, travelers can request a ride to Sea-Tac Airport from their
current location. During the two-day special, Uber rides will be charged to
Alaska Airlines and, as is customary for Uber riders,no tipping or cash is
The offer is valid “while supplies last,” so if you’re heading that way – sign up right away.