Okay, it feels weird to be talking about a specialized express bus to Logan Airport in the age we’re in, but such is the nature of having a backlog as…backlogged as mine. There are four main Logan Express buses, each running from park-and-rides in the Boston suburbs into the city to get to the airport. To start with, we’ll be checking out the Framingham one, which probably has the best facility out of any of them.
It’s really interesting comparing the old facility in Framingham to the new one – built around 2016 from what I can tell, the terminal at Framingham is easily the best one on the Logan Express system. There’s no information online about how many spaces are provided in the four-story lot, but two things are definitely true: there are a lot of them, and it’s definitely way more than the old terminal, which only had a surface lot (although even with the big garage, it seemed pretty full, with a ton of cars parked on the roof). Parking costs $7 a day, which is a godsend compared to the $38 daily parking at the airport itself!
They did a great job with the waiting area, too. It’s a big indoor facility with a variety of different seating types, plus outlets, vending machines, free wi-fi, interactive maps of the airport, and some spotless bathrooms. I bought a round-trip ticket for $22 (versus $12 for a one way), planning on using the other “direction” for a future Logan Express trip. If there’s one problem with the terminal, it’s that there might not be enough parking payment machines, at least not in an obvious way: I saw a big line waiting in front of the only one in the vicinity.
A throng of people had gotten off the outbound bus that arrived while I was here, but the inbound was less busy (as a 6 PM departure, it definitely wasn’t a peak travel time for outgoing flights from Logan). The driver handled everyone’s luggage first (I had none, of course) before walking through the bus and collecting everyone’s tickets from their seats. He also asked each person which terminal they were going to – I said E, since that would give me the longest possible ride!
By the time we actually left Framingham, it was dark enough that I couldn’t see anything out the window. Not that there was much to see anyway – we took the most direct route possible to I-90, pulling onto the highway in two minutes flat. We blazed through the wealthy, woodsy western suburbs of Boston, but things got more dense along the road once we entered Newton.
We shot past the three Commuter Rail stations in Newton and under the Star Market and hotel that both sit over the highway. Soon after Boston Landing Station, I-90 went up onto its bridge along the Charles, offering a skyline view whose picture I could not capture in the lighting. Coming off the bridge, we went by Boston University and Fenway Park.
The highway entered its tunnel beneath Back Bay, and after a little bit of open-air time, we entered its other tunnel beneath the Seaport District. It has a few spots where it pops up into the open, but before long we were in the Ted Williams, crossing Boston Harbor towards the airport. Once we got into East Boston, we pulled onto the departures road and made stops at each terminal, with the same terminal announcements as the Massport shuttles echoing through the bus.
Route: Framingham Logan Express
Ridership: This is one of the two Logan Express routes for which ridership is provided (yay!), and given the crowds I saw, it isn’t a surprise that this is their second-busiest route – 580,000 riders per year! That’s around 1,589 people per day, although I’m sure in COVID times that number is much lower.
Pros: The COVID schedule isn’t anything special (every hour all day), but I think I’m going to focus on the pre-COVID timetable and hope that we eventually get to a point where that schedule gets reinstated. The route ran every half hour throughout the day on weekdays and in the afternoon on weekends (hourly in the morning), but early bird trips to the airport also ran (and still run) as early as 2:15 AM seven days a week! The $22 round trip fare and $7 daily parking means that taking this will always be more economical than driving directly to the airport and parking, and you’re getting a comfortable ride there to boot (plus a great terminal to wait at in Framingham).
Cons: With this route, honestly not much. I do think this is the best Logan Express bus, and it’s pretty much perfect besides the pitfalls that all of these fall into: the weird pay-as-you-exit ticketing system coming from the airport, the fact that you could get stuck in I-90 traffic…and, uh, I think that’s pretty much it!
Nearby and Noteworthy: Hmm…this honestly isn’t a bad way of getting to the Natick Mall by public transportation if you really wanted to. I mean, you’d have to get to the airport somehow, and you’d have to decide if $22 round trip is worth it, and you’d have to be willing to walk for about 10-15 minutes from the Framingham terminal, but…yeah, you could definitely do it!
Final Verdict: 8/10
Sadly it goes downhill from here with the other Logan Express buses, but the Logan Express system as a whole is a great service. I think the mixture of a relatively frequent schedule and a really nice terminal makes this my favorite of the bunch, but I’m excited to talk about the others too!
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