News and notes from Hartsfield-Jackson, the world's busiest airport

Atlanta City Council approves Hartsfield-Jackson curbside management contract

The Atlanta City Council voted to approve a controversial curbside contract Monday, after taxi drivers raised concerns about their struggles making a living at the world’s busiest airport.

Taxi drivers, who face increased competition from Uber and Lyft, often wait for hours for the chance to pick up a passenger at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Airport officials sought city council approval to award a curbside management contract to a company, MTI Limo and Shuttle Services, that has faced challenges managing the hours-long queues that taxi drivers wait in for the chance to pick up passengers.

Taxi drivers have spoken at city council meetings on their grievances about the airport — turning a dispute over a contract for the management of curbside traffic of commercial vehicles into a proxy battle in their larger struggle at the airport.

“Drivers are suffering. The business is gone,” said Sharmarke Yonis, a taxi driver who represents cabbies, at the council meeting Monday.

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The curbside management contract has been held since 2011 by a vendor close to former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, A-National Limousine, operating as Curbside Management Services.

After extensive discussion, frustrated comments from council members and a series of votes over whether to delay the decision, the city council voted 11-2 to approve awarding the airport curbside management contract worth up to $7.6 million to MTI.

Voting against the measure were council member Michael Julian Bond, who had sought to postpone the approval, and council member Andrea Boone.

Next, the council is set to take up a measure to extend A-National’s contract for up to six months, pending the transition to MTI.

Among the concerns is the management of traffic for the Super Bowl in Atlanta in February.

About the Author

Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.

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