No More Free Parking At Bwi

From The Blogs

August 01, 2009

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has two big things going for it: It's cheap and convenient. Sure, you don't get a lot of international flights, and it's no match for Reagan and Dulles when it comes to the big carriers. But it's a virtual palace for Southwest and its low-fare rivals, and it?s easy to get to and easy to leave.

That's why news that the airport will now charge $2 for the previously free halfhour of parking in the hourly garage is such a disappointment. Picking people up at the airport or dropping them off has been such a civilized experience there; no endless loops driving around waiting for planes to arrive, no mucking around with the cell phone lot, no hurried loading and unloading of the car next to the terminal. Instead, you headed into one of the hundreds hundreds or thousands of empty spaces in the hourly garage, took an elevator and a skywalk over to the terminal and zipped back, all for free.

Sure, $2 is not so much to pay. But here's betting that lots of people refuse on general principle. The roadways around the airport will get clogged; dropping off or picking up at the airport will become a lot more stressful; and suddenly, BWI won't seem like quite as attractive a place to fly. The airport expects to gain about $500,000 a year from the $2 fees, but it could lose a lot more than that.

Andrew A. Green

Readers respond

Two bucks is two bucks no matter how BWI tries to spin it. Some of us drive around with less than that in our pockets at the end of the day.

Carole

How many people will waste $2 in gas circling the airport and clogging up traffic to "save" $2. I thought the original idea for the free parking was to reduce congestion at pick up/drop off.

Bill

We're going to be charged $2 to be dropped off ?! And this charge is only going to generate $500K/year? I think I'll start taking the light rail.

BWI or the state ought to erect a tollbooth outside of the rental car lots/lanes. This would make the out of towners have to pay, allowing us to have our free dropoff and pick-ups reinstated.

Anonymous

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