City Council has put off the vote on airport shuttles after complaints from cab companies.
The five-year contract has come under fire because it would go to only one vendor, a SuperShuttle franchise in partnership with Yellow Cab. That would create an unfair monopoly that would put taxi drivers out of business, some cab company representatives say.
"In America, everything's based on competition. And when something is monopolized, the service becomes very poor," said Joni Jones, a service representative with Liberty Cab who was one of a dozen people who expressed the grievances of cabdrivers at the City Council's public session this week.
Mayor Bill White said he sympathizes with taxi drivers and would prefer to contract with more than one company, but he's not sure the market would support that.
"It's a service we were convinced was risky enough so that we needed to start with one vendor," White said.
I do have sympathy for the argument that the process for deciding which company gets the exclusive contract was not fair. I'm happy to review that and to give City Council enough time to go over the details, ask questions, and make changes as necessary. Maybe we shouldn't allow an exclusive contract, and maybe the market really can't support more than one. I don't know, but I don't object to more study on the issue. Let's just keep this moving, because in the end, having a shuttle option will make the airport transportation market a broader and more competitive one. As Joni Jones points out, that's the American way.Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 12, 2006 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack