Getting to and from New York’s airports is notoriously difficult and expensive—and LaGuardia Airport is the worst of the bunch, with no affordable and practical public transportation option available. LaGuardia isn’t subway accessible. The M60 city bus is what many people use, along with traditional yellow cabs, the SuperShuttle, private bus lines, and private car services.
Now just before the holiday travel rush the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey—the government agency that runs the airport—has teamed up with ride-share app Via to offer a new affordable (and less stressful) option for leaving the airport. For just a $15 flat-rate fee, arriving passengers can take a car pool ride to any destination in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens. For the farther boroughs of Staten Island and the Bronx the flat fee will be upped to $20. The service, called LGA Connect, is currently in a pilot program phase and available for passengers arriving in Terminals C and D.
The rides can be booked through Via’s app, which will have a special LGA Connect option in its menu. Users can enter their destination, and the app’s algorithm will match passengers heading in the same direction into one car (similar to Uber Pool). The Via app will then provide passengers with information to identify their vehicle and an ETA at their destination. According to Via, all rides will leave within 10 minutes of booking, and passengers will be dropped off on a corner near their desired destination. (Drop-off is a maximum distance of two blocks from the final destination, so travelers with multiple checked bags should think twice.)
Rides can be booked seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m., and payment will be processed with a credit card through the Via app. Dispatchers will also be on-hand to assist passengers at designated LGA Connect pick-up points outside of Terminal C, the brand new building that Delta just opened as part of the rebuild project, and Terminal D, which also is mostly arrival gates for Delta.
Most importantly, this new pilot program will help passengers avoid slogging through the airport‘s construction on a shuttle bus to a taxi line or other ride-share pick-up area, which in some cases have been relocated farther from the terminals due to the widespread rebuilding project. Plenty of LGA Connect signs will point passengers to the pickup point when they hit the baggage claim area. Then it’s just steps from the terminal to the ride-share car.
For now, the flat-rate rides will only be available at LaGuardia’s C and D terminals, but a spokesperson for Via says the company will be looking for opportunities to expand the service.
This is good news for those traveling from LaGuardia as surge pricing can really spike during peak hours. In fact, LaGuardia was one of the most expensive airports in the U.S. to travel in and out of in the latest TPG survey, partially because of the cost of ride-hailing. It also doesn’t offer great public-transport options.