What they won't be doing at Dulles Airport: free transit from (not to) Logan Airport, Boston
One of these days I'll weign in on all the b.s. about extension of Metrorail service to Dulles Airport and beyond in Loudoun County, and the backlash currently underway (see "Silver Line expansion plan draws scores of speakers to Loudoun meeting" from the Post).
Notions Capital calls our attention to this Boston Globe article, "MBTA to give free rides from airport: No Silver Line fare in test to cut Logan’s congestion."
The Globe piece illutrates the general point that the Loudoun County transit debacle illustrates to a "T." From the article:
The local debacle has to do with the fact that providing transit to and from regional airports should be considered a matter of regional/metropolitan importance and transit planning/transit expansion planning shouldn't be strictly the responsibility of particular jurisdictions--it's too important.
Anyway, as a transportation demand management initiative, the Massachusetts Port Authority is testing providing free transit for arriving passengers at Logan Airport, hoping to achieve a 5% increase in people using modes other than the automobile, especially because the airport lacks the ability to add more parking capacity.
Note that free transit initiatives in high-demand locations, such as "fareless square" in Portland, Oregon are reasonably effective in reducing automobile use. But decreased revenues for transit systems limits the ability to maintain such services ("Fareless Square ending for Portland buses; MAX, streetcar still free in zone" from the Portland Oregonian). Also see the series on free transit from the Tyee.
Another free transit initiative I've been meaning to write about is how Northside Pittsburgh development interests (Alco Parking, Pittsburgh Stadium Authority, the Pittsburgh Steelers Football Team, and Rivers Casino), including a parking structure-lot operator, are subsidizing the provision of free transit to the new transit stops there, the Allegheny and North Shore stops on the new North Shore Connector, which opened up a few months ago. See "Trips on North Shore T will be free" from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Note that the Pittsburgh example has a professional sports team, the Steelers, "subsidizing" free transit, which must be unprecedented. Certainly, local professional sports teams have not been too forthcoming in doing something similar in DC.