April 25, 2013
As more and more passengers travel through Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, officials are looking at all the airports' amenities and most specifically, ground transportation.
On any given day, you might see 5, 10 or even 15 different taxi services or drivers lined up to take care of passengers coming in to town. But the airport is in the process of possibly bringing that number down to only one.
"The airplane gets them here but the first impression to our community, is often that taxi cab service," said CHO's Executive Director, Melinda Crawford. "And in order to make sure we're doing our due-diligence and offering the best services, this is a process we have to go through."
Crawford says since the airport operates independently, they need to make the best business decision for their customers but independent drivers who wait at the airport every single day, say it's a business for them, too.
"Most of my daylight time is spent here at the airport. I do other jobs, on my own, like driving a tour bus but still this is my main source of income," said Ricky Randolph, of Rick's Taxi Service.
The process allows taxi services to apply or complete a proposal to bid for that one contracted spot and then a selection committee with make a recommendation to CHO's executive board.
"There's no way for us to regulate the number of cabs to be here, or in essence, regulate the fares that are charged. This just gives the airport a little more control over the services that are being offered at their airport," Crawford said.
Randolph has been servicing the airport for 5 years and says he would've liked there to be a little more conversation before finding out about the proposal process.
"I just hope and pray that we can just actually stay here, keep it on one accord and keep moving forward with the airport as time goes on," he said.
The proposals are due May 1st and then the selection committee will take a few months to look them over. Crawford says it is still the investigative stage until they receive a recommendation. But even then, the executive board might decide to not go through with the change in the end.
Crawford says this process is not unusual for airports to go through and says Richmond just went through the same one and chose three companies to contract with.