CLEVELAND — A new $3.5 million ground transportation center is open for use at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
The hub is the new location for shuttle and rental car drop-offs and has been years in the making to help ease traffic congestion.
Located just off the baggage claim area on the airport’s lower level, the new area provides more space and flexibility to make other improvements to the airport and its traffic flow.
“Ninety-eight percent of the people come outside the terminal. So, in 2019, that was about four million people more on our roadway system,” said Robert Kennedy, director of Port Control.
Construction started in March of 2020 but was delayed due to COVID-19 supply shortages. There is still work to be done, including relocating taxi cabs, and fishing a walkway to the Red Lot.
“Later in development of the master plan, rental car agency ground transportation will be back,” Kennedy said. “So, it'll eventually allow us to construct a new parking deck.”
The new transportation center features a covered waiting area with WiFi, new benches and lighting and fully handicapped accessible walkways. Over-head heating will also be utilized in the cold winter months.
The new location is right next to baggage claim, meaning travelers no longer must go down a floor just to ride another escalator like the previous location.
“A lot of times people travel once or twice a year and way-finding has to be intuitive,” Kennedy said. “Our airport needs to be changed and we need to be focused on the airline airport economics as well as customer service.”
Hopkins, like most airports, is self-funded through airline fees. The money used for the new shuttle area is the airport’s money but utilizing that money must be approved by the airlines.
“Cleveland Hopkins is above the national average. And that's why the airlines are willing to invest in us, why they're putting more flights, more seats,” Kennedy said.
The new center isn’t a long-term solution, as a $2 billion construction project is on the horizon to rebuild the entire terminal at the airport, but that may take another decade before it’s completed.
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