Airport to rebid shuttle contract, again

The Atlanta Airport will once again rebid a controversial airport shuttle contract, after the company selected got into a wreck that injured passengers and then lost its state permits to operate.

A private hotel shuttle bus operated by MTI Limo and Shuttle Services Inc. carrying 16 passengers slammed into the rear of a tractor-trailer that was making a U-turn on Loop Road just south of Virginia Avenue on May 24.

Hartsfield-Jackson officials had planned to award a key airport shuttle contract to MTI, but decided to table the decision pending investigation into the accident. Initial charges against the shuttle driver included driving with an improper license and operating an unsafe vehicle, while initial charges again the tractor-trailer driver included making an improper u-turn.

On Monday, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport general manager Louis Miller said the airport has decided to “go out and do a rebid.” He cited the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s move to pull MTI’s permits late last month.

Kimberly Krautter, a spokeswoman for MTI, said Monday, “Obviously we are very disappointed by this turn of events and we are looking forward to the completion of the inspections and the resumption of our permits and operations very soon.”

It will be at least the third try in three years at awarding the contract for so-called “shared-ride shuttles” between the airport and downtown, Midtown and Buckhead. After the previous shuttle company Atlanta Link stopped operating the shuttles in 2010, the airport has been depending on an interim operator, A-National Limousine. The airport solicited proposals for the service in 2011, but after complaints about conflict of interest related to A-National, a connection to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and another airport contract, it decided in 2012 to rebid the contract.

It looked like the airport was finally getting close to officially awarding the contract, until the crash occurred in May.

MTI Limo and Shuttle and its two affiliates had their operating authority suspended June 26 due to safety violations found during inspections after the accident, according to Johnny Jones, executive officer of the state motor carrier compliance division. It was a blanket suspension of all certificates and permits pending a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration investigation and corrections by MTI, including re-inspections of vehicles, and demonstrating an effective preventive maintenance program and driver monitoring program, he said.

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