Airport issues from San Francisco to San Jose


Apr. 23--Q Since you seem to know about the work at the San Jose airport, maybe you know about the upgrades a few years ago at the San Francisco airport. Why doesn't the elevated train that serves the car rental facility continue onto the SFO parking facility? It seems silly that after spending millions to build the elevated train system, the track structure looks like an uncompleted flyover with train cars parked on it. And yet, the long-term parking facility is still being serviced by buses. Let's get them off the road. Why not spend some of that stimulus money that was cut off from the BART-to-Oakland-airport project to get the SFO train to the parking structure? Has anybody been looking into this?

Bruce McCoy


A The original plan had the AirTrain not only going to the long-term parking facility but also to the United Airlines maintenance operations center and then completely around to the north side of the airport to the General Aviation-Executive Terminal. But all these stops became victims of budget cuts. Airport officials recently took another look at extending the AirTrain to the long-term lot, but the cost projections for construction, operation and maintenance far exceed any possible revenue increase as a result of this extension.

Q Does the San Jose airport have a time estimate as to when the new rental car facility will open? Summer of 2010 is vague. I

was at the airport a couple of days ago and the place almost looks ready now.

Alex Wong

A It is almost ready. The public parking portion on the ground level should open in late May, with the rental car operations ready a couple of weeks later. There will be 350 public parking spaces in this lot and 3,000 rental car spaces.

Q There have been recent maps in your column about changes in access to the San Jose airport, but there is nothing on the airport website. It does not even show the new Terminal B or the parking garage close by. Where can an up-to-date map be found?

Fred Marshall


A Terminal B and the new rental car center will show up on the website when they open in June. Airport officials deliberately haven't put this up before they're open, trying not to confuse people looking for parking or terminals not yet available. Go to to see changes that have been made.

Q At one time there was a telephone number listed in the cell phone lot where I could call and find arrival times of planes at the San Jose airport. That was very convenient. Can you still do this?

Robin Zimmer

Santa Cruz

A There is no central number for airline schedules. Call your airline's 800 number for arrival times.

Q Why does Bus 10, the Airport Flyer, stop running before the arrival of the last flight at the San Jose airport? If a person is going to the airport and takes VTA past 11:30 p.m., there will be no bus service. A taxi has a $15 minimum charge.

Bhartan Amin

Union City

A It's all about money and riders -- not enough in both cases. In better economic times, the VTA operated Line 10 (Airport Flyer) 30 minutes after the last flight arrived. Even then, this trip was only averaging one person a trip. If you take the Airport Flyer, new stop locations will soon be announced.

Q Everyone keeps complaining about the changes at the San Jose airport, so I was a little nervous when I had to go pick up a relative recently. When I arrived at the airport I just followed the signs to the A terminal, short-term parking. I pulled into the parking garage and directly in front of the door to the baggage claim area was one-hour parking. I pulled in, walked about 20 feet to the baggage area, took the elevator upstairs and met my aunt coming off the plane. We took the elevator back down, grabbed her luggage and were back in the car and out of the parking garage in less than 20 minutes and I only had to pay $1 to park. For me it couldn't have gone easier or faster.

Tracy Ellenberger

San Jose

A It should get even easier soon.

Contact Gary Richards at or 408-920-5335.