Controversial airport shuttle contract near approval

After four years of controversy over shuttle service to and from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the Atlanta City Council is set to vote Monday on a contract with national operator SuperShuttle.

SuperShuttle’s contract, if approved, will allow it to launch “shared-ride” service later this year for the city’s central business district — essentially to and from downtown, Midtown and Buckhead.

But residents in Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett and anywhere outside of the city of Atlanta’s central business district will not be able to book SuperShuttle’s blue vans.

Amid an outcry by smaller local shuttle firms operating in other parts of the city and suburbs who say the national competition could hurt their business, Hartsfield-Jackson has a moratorium in place preventing SuperShuttle from getting a permit to operate anywhere beyond that area.

That’s different from SuperShuttle’s operations in many other big cities, where it can pick up a wider swath of customers along the way and take them to the airport.

“You see them in most major cities,” said traveler Joe Hammell, who lives in Brookhaven and has taken SuperShuttle in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. When traveling with his wife, Hammell said he sometimes uses SuperShuttle and counts on its service to “get us to wherever we need to go. The only downside is if they’re doing a milk run and you’re No. 10, you may be on there for a while.”

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