© 2022 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

SA Airport Expands Shuttle Service To Parking Areas

Shelley Kofler
Texas Public Radio
The San Antonio airport closed the hourly garage last week and has been directing visitors to parking lots where they can still pay an hourly rate for brief visits.

San Antonio International Airport expanded its shuttle service Monday which may help in addressing a parking change that has frustrated some passengers.

The changes are the result of a construction project that demolished the hourly parking lot to make way for a garage that will eventually house rental car companies and short term parking.   

The expanded shuttle service may ease frustration that has some airport visitors fuming.

On Friday, senior citizens Jane and Armand Allee drove to the San Antonio airport to pick up friends who were flying in. 

“We just need to park long enough to pick them up,” Jane Allee explained.

She said that because the hourly parking lot has been demolished airport personnel at the parking entrance directed them to the long- term lot. They could still pay an hourly fee for their short stay, but the lot was nearly full and the Allees were upset when they learned they had to hike around construction in the heat to get to the terminal.

“When you enter there’s nothing on (level) one, nothing on two, only so many (parking spots) on three, so many on four.  But you don’t know where on three and four.  You have to drive up and down and up and down.  I wonder if they’d give you a ride to the elevator,” she huffed.

Credit Shelley Kofler / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
Construction crews have demolished the 30-year old hourly parking garage to make way for a high-rise garage that will house hourly parking and rental car companies.

Lela Caldwell was also frustrated.

“Mom needed a wheelchair and we were way far away.”

Caldwell said she parked in the garage before she realize a shuttle-bus had not yet begun to operate between this option for short term parking and the terminals.

“It was kind of inconvenient because we had to walk a long way and she’s really ill,” said Caldwell.  

Expanded Shuttle Service

Now after almost a week of walking a shuttle is available to hourly visitors parking in the long-term garage.  The service was delayed while the airport finalized a contract with the shuttle company.  The shuttle wasn't scheduled to serve the long-term garage until August 1, but on Monday An airport spokesperson said the service was being started earlier.

Shuttle service already existed for those parking in the Green Lot.  It’s a little further from the terminal but the airport’s Nora Castro says shuttles now stop frequently in both locations and drop passengers off in front of the terminals.  

“The shuttle bus service is going to run between five to eight minutes and it’s on a continuous rotation, so it really is convenient.  It’s just a different way of parking,” said Castro.

The $165.6 Million Project

Castro says the hourly parking lot next to the terminals has been demolished to make way for a high-rise garage.  When it’s completed in about two years hourly parking will again be close to the terminals, on the two lower levels.  Rental car companies, currently scattered in and around the airport, will be located on the five upper stories of the garage.

Castro says travelers renting cars at the San Antonio airport have complained about getting lost when they return their cars.  She says the new garage will solve that problem.

“It eliminates congestion in and around the airport. Number two, people are able to rent a car and then return it at the same location so it’s a little less confusing,” she said.

Plan Ahead When Parking

In the meantime, though, passengers flying out of the San Antonio airport should give themselves an extra half-hour to park and get to the terminal.  Castro recommends they also check the airport website before leaving home.  It will tell you if either the long term garage or the green parking lot is already full. 

A map of the airport parking areas in use is posted along with additional details on the San Antonio International Airport website. 

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.