New Train to Washington Dulles Airport Is Being Sabotaged Again Before It Even Opens

News notes from around the interweb:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Comments

  1. $1 extra isn’t too bad to get out to Dulles. The problem is pronounced at SFO where it’s basically double the cost to go to the airport (and there’s not a monthly pass to avoid it for airline workers). At SFO, a family of four might as well Uber.

  2. The issue is if they don’t create monthly passes and this discourages airport employees from taking metro. But an extra dollar isn’t much. If you’ve tried to get to Dulles on the toll road you know the pain and suffering involved. Those of us who live in the region would happily pay a dollar not to deal with that. I avoid Dulles except for international flights.

  3. To say that a $1 extra fee is “discouraging” ridership is quite a stretch – looking at the cost of a taxi trip to Dulles. Also, taking the Express bus from Whiele Reston East is a $5 fare – on top of the metro fare.

    Of course it all depends on the actual fare of the trip if the offer is competitive. But I’ve been using the metro/bus connection from Arlington quite a number of times and it is very convenient. But it will of course be even more convenient if you don’t have to change from Metro to Bus.

    What I am concerned about is the statement “the station won’t actually be right at the airport”. What distance are we talking about?

  4. What the state of Maryland and some comments are missing is that travelers are not likely to be the largest users of the Dulles airport station. Most likely this will just affect lower wage retail and food service employees who are more likely to be using the metro on a daily basis.

  5. @Emily – There are already monthly passes.

    @Alex – It’s more or less built now; you can see it when you’re driving up to the terminal, but it’s across the hourly parking garage. Metro customers will have access to an underground tunnel with moving walkways. Here’s a view from the station looking at the main terminal building: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dulles_International_Airport_station#/media/File:Dulles_International_Airport_Metro_construction_2016e.jpg

  6. @Alex. The station is across the surface lot in front of the terminal about 1,150 feet from the terminal with a cover walkway. The best part will be the great view of the Eero Saarinen designed terminal:-)

  7. If it is applied for Dulles, why wouldn’t it also apply for DCA? Same metro system servicing airports.

    Maryland is only proposing because their airport (BWI) is literally hours away.

  8. Anyone who would take Metro from IAD to DC ought to plan for a long trip. There is no express track. The train stops at about a dozen stations on the way.

  9. The station entrance is visible along the underground walkway between the terminal and garages. The faregates are already installed.

  10. The metro to Dulles is such a joke. How about an express line. Taking an hour plus to get to the airport is a joke.

  11. @Adam L

    “What the state of Maryland and some comments are missing is that travelers are not likely to be the largest users of the Dulles airport station.”

    On what basis do you make this statement? Have you done or seen a study?

  12. re: “a premium service”

    This made me chuckle. IAD service is no different than any other station on the line, or for that matter, the station at DCA.

    OTOH, if they were running express trains from the airport to the city, *that* would be premium service And yes, I know that it is not possible to run express trains with the current design.

  13. @Dan

    Yes, the FEIS has the expected ridership numbers for commuters versus passengers. Already the 5A bus that runs to Dulles has a commuter ridership share of over 65%.So that’s not to say that the majority of passengers on the Silver Line extension will be employees, but those airport employees will constitute the highest number of individual users of the station by far (and thus the ones for whom the cost is really a factor).

  14. I work in the transit industry. Airport employees are the biggest market for rail to the airport. Period. That’s the ridership base that will use the service every day consistently.

    The fare policy at SFO does disproportionately impact employees. And it will in IAD as well.

  15. To expand of what Bill n DC and Orabge posted, according to the Dullesmetro.com website
    “…Station Facilities
    One station entrance adjoined to the underground pedestrian tunnel with moving sidewalks that connects to the baggage claim level of main terminal…”

  16. @Adam L

    Thanks. I live in suburban DC (near the silver line, no less) and my understanding is that across the transit system, there’s a rather noticeable socio-economic divide between who rides the bus vs the train. That is to say, poor people take the bus, and not-poor people ride the rail. One must also consider that there is an option to take a non-metro operated bus from the airport to the Wiehle Ave metro station, so the 5A numbers alone may not be representative of overall ridership breakdowns.

    I can also say that buses are often seen as more confusing to ride than rail, and from my own experience when I travel, I’m highly likely to take a rail option if available, and will only consider a bus if a cab is “too expensive.” Most airport buses aren’t set up to handle luggage very well, so all in all, I can certain understand a bus aversion for a tourist/traveler that shouldn’t be assumed for rail.

    That said… even though I live near the silver line, I’m not likely to take it to the airport. I have to haul my bags to the station (which is a bus, uber, or 3/4 mile walk when it opens) and then another haul from the airport station to the airport. Or… a $20 cab ride. Yet if I worked at the airport? Yeah, I’d probably take transit.

  17. I agree with the other posters that an extra buck to get to IAD isn’t too bad. Many other cities fleece airport travellers for far more. In Sydney, Australia, the powers-that-be decided to add an extra AUS$13.80 to everyone’s fare. I’ve personally walked 20 minutes to the next station with a rollerboard (it’s a surprisingly pleasant walk from the int’l terminal) just to avoid the fee. Kind of like picking up a rental car off-airport when the government decides to fleece travellers.

  18. Once the silver line goes live the 5A will be going away, the Washington flyer from Reston will probably go away as well, and bwi is not hours away, as someone who lives in the district it is almost as easy trip from union Station as dca as via Marc cheaper than metro and flyer to iad

  19. It’s across the parking lot around 1,000 feet away from the terminal… How exactly does that fit it “won’t actually be right at the airport but a bit of a schlep away”. Most transit isn’t directly below the airport terminal but a “schlep” away. If walking a 1,000 feet is a deal breaker for you then maybe you should see if the airport authority will put in the e-scooters for rent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *