Cover Image

Not for Sale

View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 113

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 112
112 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation The GatwickVictoria Station Check-in System As noted previously, Paddington Station represented the true state of the art in high-quality downtown check-in facilities and services, which is why it was chosen for this case study. A quick review of change in rail mode share to Gatwick Airport from neighboring Victoria Station sup- ports the basic observations made in the HeathrowPaddington case study. What Happened at Victoria Station? During the 4-year period between the first discontinua- tion (American Airlines in 2001) to the end of the study period (2004), the Gatwick Express experienced a 10% increase in overall mode share (for all market segments aggregated together). In short, there is no evidence in the Gatwick experience that would seem to undermine the fundamental conclusions made in the Paddington case study: neither the existence of downtown baggage check-in nor its discontinuation impacted the rail market share for the services in question. Lessons Learned from London To help interpret the implications of the lack of downtown baggage check-in on dedicated one-seat ride services, a series of interviews were conducted with those who had been involved in various stages of the introduction and discontinuation of downtown baggage check-in ser- vices in London. In these interviews, several managers who created the original market strategy for the new Heathrow Express stated the belief that the service needed to be seen as something different from the directly competing (one-seat ride) Piccadilly Line services offered by the London Under- ground. Amenities such as a private on-board television service programmed solely for Heathrow Express and first-class coaches were all designed to differentiate the product from other options available to the traveler. These managers thought then that the provision of down- town baggage check-in was essential to differentiate the Heathrow Express, relative to other ground options. The most revealing interview was with the manager of airport terminal strategies for British Airways, who was a long-time supporter of high-amenity rail services to London airports. In the interview, he noted that, between the latter part of 2001 and the airline decision of 2003 to give up the service, data could be obtained on whether the service was a market discriminator. In other words, for 2 years British Airways was offering a product not offered by two competitors, American Airlines and United Airlines. From these 2 years, British Airways gained the hard evi- dence that the addition of downtown baggage check-in services was not a market discriminator, particularly in a market obsessed with minimized price over any other factor. No significant level of complaint has been received as a result of the decision to discontinue the service. Status of Other Downtown Check-in Terminals In the previous decade, downtown check-in terminals supporting rail service were in opera- tion not only in London, but also in Hong Kong and Osaka, and a check-in terminal supporting bus services was in Tokyo. More recently, additional services were commenced in Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, and Vienna. Major operational changes have taken place not only in London, but in Tokyo and Osaka as well. Madrid Nuevos Ministerios Check-in Facility The Nuevos Ministerios downtown check-in facility serving Barajas International Airport in Madrid was an example of high-quality intermodal terminal design. The facility was very large: the check-in lobby covered more than 1,200 square meters, which allowed for 34 check-in sta- tions and very spacious room for queuing (Figure 5-4). Well located on the downtown regional transit system, the facility was served by three traditional rapid transit stations (allowing one

OCR for page 112
Integrated Baggage and Ticketing Strategies 113 PHOTO: M. A. Coogan. Figure 5-4. This spacious check-in facility in Madrid was rarely used by airline passengers to check their bags. change service from fifty transit stations), seven electrified commuter rail lines, and ten bus lines. The underground station has the capacity for 100 taxis to wait at the station and 5,000 square meters devoted to pick-up and drop-off parking. Airline check-in service was dropped in 2006. Within the terminal area, Iberia (OneWorld), Spanair (Star Alliance), and some smaller char- ter operations provided check-in services. Iberia and Spanair allowed the traveler to check bags as late as 2 hours before flight time and to get a boarding card as late as 1 hour before departure. Iberia allowed baggage to be checked in up to 24 hours in advance of the flight, while Spanair allowed it from 6:30 a.m. on the day of departure. The Transit Service. The rail service is highly unusual: a rapid transit vehicle that has very long distances between stations often associated with commuter rail service. The fare to the airport is about $1 (US). Trains leave every 5 minutes or less, and take about 12 minutes to get to the airport with only two intermediate stations. The trains have three cars operated with accordion-like "vestibule" connections, allowing the three cars to operate as one. Many of the traditional longitudinal (bench) seats have been eliminated to allow a baggage rack between virtually all of the doors. However, many passengers still place their bags immediately in front of them, ignoring the racks. The downtown check-in area used an airport Flight Information Display (FID) board for all flights departing and arriving at the airport. Importantly, Metro de Madrid placed these FIDs at key transfer points along the new line, specifically at the Columbia transfer station. The Baggage Transfer. Checked baggage was carried by a conveyor built to a small room on the mezzanine level, where it dropped to a platform-level location next to the front of the outbound train. The bags were then placed into containers. On board the train, the first module of the car, and the first door, was devoted to a baggage area that could store several of the containers.

OCR for page 112
114 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation At the airport transit station, the platform that serves outbound trains from the downtown was used (1) to unload the containers from downtown and (2) to load empty containers onto the train, which then continued its outbound journey to its ultimate terminal. The train would return with the empty containers already on board on the (inbound) opposite track, where there was no need for a separate inbound cargo management area. What Happened in Madrid? Airline passengers tended not to use the elaborate, well- designed baggage check-in service, and the facility was significantly underused. Over several site visits, no more than 3 of the 34 check-in stations were seen in operation, and they were not used heavily. Local officials have stated that only about 200 bags were checked in per week, or about 30 per day. With the opening of a new airline terminal in 2006, the downtown check-in service was terminated. Thus, although a significant number of airline passengers use the rapid transit service to the airport, most chose not to check their bags on the way. Exactly why is not known. However, given that most passengers access the direct transit line by another transit line, the passenger would have already handled any baggage on the shared-use rapid transit cars. In some cases then, the passen- ger may have found transferring directly to the express line easier than the alternative of getting off the transit vehicle, going upstairs to the check-in facility, and then returning to the platform area. The portion of transit users who choose to part with their bags at the Madrid downtown facility is much smaller than the one-in-five passengers who chose to use the Paddington Station check-in service. Munich Main Station Check-in Terminal What Happened in Munich? With the opening of the new Munich Airport in 1992, Lufthansa began to operate a small two-desk check-in service in a corner of the Main Railway Station (Figure 5-5). The baggage was carried by airport bus rather than the S-Bahn airport PHOTO: M. A. Coogan. Figure 5-5. This small airport check-in station in the Munich Main Railway Station was discontinued by Lufthansa in the mid-1990s.

OCR for page 112
Integrated Baggage and Ticketing Strategies 115 trains. Although the check-in service operated for several years, it ceased operation in the mid- 1990s because of lack of use. Tokyo City Air Terminal Narita Airport was unique in that its major downtown baggage check-in terminal was served by luxury bus, not by rail. The Tokyo City Air Terminal offers "limousine bus" service that has a 55-minute travel time to Narita and operates on a 10-minute headway. This service has a very high mode share for visitors and tourists to the city. For years, the Tokyo City Air Terminal offered both downtown check-in and early security screening for airline passengers who could use "express lanes" once they arrived at the airport. What Happened in Tokyo? Check-in services for all airline passengers were discontinued at the Tokyo City Air Terminal on December 31, 2002. In 2001, only flights to the United States lost the service, but the added costs to the airlines of supporting multiple check-in locations led to the cancellation of the services the next year. Osaka Namba City Airport Terminal An airport check-in service was operated at the Namba City Airport Terminal in Osaka, with direct rail service to Kansai Airport. The facility was used by the largest airline in Japan, ANA; according to reports, Japan Air Lines ceased operations at the facility by 2000 because of a dis- pute about operating costs. The system offered baggage check-in until 130 minutes before flight departure times (38). What Happened in Osaka? For reasons not determined, baggage check-in was discontinued in the Namba station complex, although shared rail service continues from there to Kansai Airport. Hong Kong Check-in Locations MTRC provides downtown check-in service for its Airport Express service at two locations: the downtown Central and Kowloon Stations. The operation of the baggage-handling system has been so efficient that travelers can now check bags in at the downtown Central Station only 90 minutes before flight departure (Figure 5-6)--the same time the traveler would have been required to be at the airport. PHOTO: M. A. Coogan. Figure 5-6. The check-in terminal in downtown Hong Kong has a massive capital investment in its automated baggage container system.

OCR for page 112
116 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation Hong Kong Airport Express officials report that 53% of those airline passengers using the trains now use the check-in service, with peak levels as high as 70%. Although these numbers are high, they are explained by most major destinations from the Hong Kong International Airport being several hours away. Thus, trip duration tends to be longer, and the percentage of travelers checking bags is very high. What Is Happening in Hong Kong? At the present time, the management of the Hong Kong transit agency MTRC is re-examining its options for the operation of the downtown check-in service. According to agency officials, several options are being considered including offering the service for a price to travelers who have not bought a ticket on the rail line; such a move might be part of a new policy that would charge all travelers who check bags on the system. Other policy options include discontinuing the service or allowing the existing infrastructure to be used by private operators, selling their services for a fee. Vienna City Airport Train The dedicated City Airport Train service commenced in 2003, and ridership has grown strongly. Baggage check-in services are offered for all Star Alliance companies and for a wide vari- ety of smaller unaffiliated airlines. According to the Vienna City Airport Train website, bags can now be checked for flights to the United States. The downtown facility includes automated, self- service baggage check-in desks, capable of reading electronically coded passports (Figure 5-7). The International Air Rail Organisation has reported that 10,000 passengers per month use the check-in services or more than 1 passenger in 5. Passengers can check-in as late as 85 minutes before flight time, or as early as 24 hours in advance (37). PHOTO: M. A. Coogan Figure 5-7. The Vienna City Airport Terminal offers attended baggage check-in (right) and automated self-service baggage check-in (left).