Originally created 07/08/06

Cab services pass up airport contract

Independent taxi companies alleging a monopoly on service at Augusta Regional Airport passed up the chance this week to work the cab stand there.

For the first time in 21 years, city taxi services other than Radio Cab had a chance to enter into contracts with the airport. But the enrollment deadline passed Friday with only Radio Cab having signed up, airport marketing director Diane Johnston said. Some cab companies had expressed interest but didn't pay the fees and fill out the paperwork, she said.

Last week, the Aviation Commission approved a six-month contract for any company willing to pay $360 per car for a spot in line at the cab stand. Cabs permitted at the airport will now display a decal.

The move was a shift from an exclusive cab stand to an open one, similar to taxi service at airports such as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Owners of several cab companies suing the airport, Radio Cab and the city would not comment because of the pending litigation. Their Marietta, Ga., attorney, Harold Garcia, said the lawsuit would not have prevented them from signing up.

"It wouldn't affect the lawsuit at all," he said.

As for Radio Cab, it has been business as usual, said David Fields, the taxi service's general manager.

"With all the fussing and kicking they've been doing, I figured all of them would sign up," he said. "I guess they don't want to. It's not Masters Week, I guess."

Although his competition has alleged antitrust violations by Radio Cab and the airport, Mr. Fields has countered that other cab companies are interested in working the airport only for lucrative fares during the peak season in April.

Glenn Hall, the owner of Signal Cab Co., has said that isn't the case.

"We want to be there all the time," he said. "We don't want to just cherry pick."

Later this year, aviation commissioners plan to consider how annual contracts will be awarded in January.

Reach Justin Boron at (706) 823-3215 or justin.boron@augustachronicle.com.

Cab Companies Registered for Augusta Regional Airport

Radio Cab Co.

Cost per car: $360 for six months


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