Transportation

Post-pandemic travel surge synchs with SFO AirTrain extension, parking promotion

In a stroke of fortuitous timing, San Francisco International Airport (SFO)’s completion this spring of a long-planned project to extend its AirTrain electric people-mover system to the airport’s long-term parking facility has coincided with Bay Area residents’ enthusiastic return to air travel as the COVID-19 pandemic eases its grip on the region. Among the flyers taking early advantage of the AirTrain extension — and a special discount parking promotion — is MTC video journalist Mark Jones, who filed this thumbs-up review.

Customers who reserve a space in either of SFO’s two long-term parking garages can receive half a day of free parking for every full day booked, starting on the second day. If a traveler books a long-term parking space for one week, for instance, they will receive three days free. The promotion includes no limit to the number of free days that can be earned. Customers can reserve a space online at parking.flysfo.com/book/SFO/Parking.

The $259 million project to extend the AirTrain system 1,900-feet beyond its previous terminus at the airport’s rental car center included construction of a new station connected to the long-term parking facility by a new pedestrian bridge. By grounding the shuttle bus fleet that previously connected the long-term parking garage with airport terminals, SFO officials expect to eliminate some 600,000 miles of vehicle trips each year.

“This is the culmination of a long-held ambition for SFO,” said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero in an SFO news release. “When the AirTrain opened in 2003, we always envisioned a future project to create this extension to Long-Term Parking. Completing this construction means easier access for travelers, less roadway congestion, and more clean-energy transportation around our airport.”