There's a story in the Idaho Statesman today about the increasing pressure on parking and other facilities at the Boise Airport, where the passenger count has risen from 2.8 million a year in 2004 to 3.3 million now, and where we'll lose some federal support once we pass the 5-million mark. Here are three suggestions to help the airport maximize its current lot space and for us all to start thinking like the urban creatures that we are. (These are for Boiseans; out-of-towners can always ask to park at a friend's house in Boise, then follow these tips.)
1) Cheapest of all: Have a family member or a friend drop you off and/or pick you up.
2) Next cheapest (and heavily underutilized): Take Valley Ride. The #1 Park Center runs from downtown to the airport through southeast Boise from 5:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. The #3 Vista runs between downtown and the airport through the Central Bench from 6:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Lots of Boiseans live near - or can transfer to - one route or another. True, these hours won't accommodate all flights, but you can always use option 1 or 3 for your return trip if your plane gets in late. Best of all, it's a mere $1 fare on either of these routes, $2 if you need to transfer from another city bus line.
It's easy to maneuver a carry-on bag and/or backpack onto the bus, and what's a few blocks' walk with a roller bag to the bus stop when our weather is fine? And yeah, you may need to arrive early given our once-an-hour mid-day timetables on most routes, but with free wireless at BOI, you can get stuff done once you're there. Get more Valley Ride schedule info here.
3) Take a taxi. If you live 3 miles from the airport, this will run you about $22, including tip. If you're 5 miles out, it'd be about $32. If you're 10 miles away up in northwest Boise, you're getting up in the $50 range. Still, compare that to whatever you plan to spend on parking, with current airport garage rates at $9.75 a day ($7 for the shuttle lot; $7.75 for the long-term surface lot). If you're going away for more than two or three days, you may save money with a cab. You don't need to take the first cab in line at the airport, either; ask your favorite cab company about their "will-call" policy at the airport and airport discounts. IF you don't have a favorite cab company, try Boise City Taxi (my pick) or Orange Cab.