O'Hare's Parking Lot F reborn -- with a car rental twist
O'Hare International Airport's combo car rental and long-term parking structure opens Wednesday in advance of the Thanksgiving travel juggernaut.
For travelers, that means a centralized location housing 10 rental companies from Avis to Thrifty with transport to O'Hare terminals.
For residents, it means the long-awaited reopening of Parking Lot F with a twist. Instead of sprawling on a street-level lot, cars can park in more than 2,600 spaces on floors four and five of the new Multi Modal Facility at Mannheim and Zemke roads.
To get between airport terminals and the facility, free shuttle buses will operate all day, seven days a week.
Arriving passengers can board the buses, which carry signs saying "Rental Cars/Parking Lot F," from the Lower Level baggage claim at each terminal.
The Chicago Department of Aviation is extending the people-mover train from Economy Parking Lot E to the Multi Modal Facility and it will begin operations at a later date.
Other car rental companies at the Multi Modal Facility are: Budget, Enterprise/Alamo/National, Hertz, E-Z Rent a Car, Fox Rent a Car, Payless, Advantage, Sixt and Dollar.
By eliminating trips from rental car vans and expanding the people mover, officials predict vehicle traffic around the terminals will decrease by about 1.3 million vehicles a year. Consolidating car rentals and providing transit to the airport close by should be more convenient for flyers, CDA planners said.
The city is using a low-interest $288 million federal loan to help fund the project as well as airport bonds.
Construction on the nine-story $782 million facility, one of the largest capital improvements at O'Hare, began in May 2015.
About 30,000 people are expected to use the parking structure daily.