Local News

May 28, 2014 at 5:24 AM
Airport to reopen taxi service bidding
Chris Miller, cmiller@wbt.com


Amid pay to play allegations that were renewed by former mayor Patrick Cannon's arrest, Charlotte Douglas International Airport said Tuesday it would reopen bidding for taxi service at the airport.

The City Council voted in 2011 to limit to three the number of taxi companies that could pick up passengers at the airport.

But Cannon's March arrest on public corruption charges revived claims by taxi companies that they were unfairly shut out of the airport.

The airport said Tuesday it would launch a new request for proposals for taxi contracts this fall. The new contracts would take effect July 2015.

Charlotte Douglas "is committed to a fair and equitable process," an airport statement said.

City Manager Ron Carlee, who was not with the city in 2011, and the airport's interim director Brent Cagle have defended the 2011 vote as fair.

The FBI has been investigating the airport taxi issue as part of its case against Cannon, who is accused of taking $48,000 in bribes in exchange for helping undercover FBI agents navigate city departments.

Two of the three companies that won airport contracts have ties to the former mayor.

Yellow Cab has donated $36,000 to Cannon, The Charlotte Observer reported in April. Crown Cab is a member of the Hospitality and Tourism Alliance, which is operated by Cannon ally Mohammed Jenetian.

The third airport taxi contract went to City Cab.

The airport said Tuesday all three companies have been given a one-year extension, but they would have to re-bid for airport service when the RFP process begins this fall.

"This timeline insures adequate customer service and provides (the airport) the necessary time needed to conduct a new RFP process," the airport statement said.

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