Airport shuttle contract delayed after city council panel scraps measure

Passengers board the terminal-to-terminal shuttle at the international terminal Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2023.  (Steve Schaefer/

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Passengers board the terminal-to-terminal shuttle at the international terminal Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2023. (Steve Schaefer/

An Atlanta City Council committee on Wednesday scrapped a measure for a new airport terminal-to-terminal shuttle operator, after weeks of vehement opposition from the company that currently runs the service.

The terminal-to-terminal shuttle service has been plagued with delays and long waits this year, prompting complaints from weary travelers trying to catch the shuttle to get home after long overseas flights.

Meanwhile, the city and airport have been mired in a long, drawn-out process to rebid the contract, with multiple redos.

This latest decision by the city council transportation committee to file the resolution for the new contract, which essentially kills it, could mean months more delays for the shuttle contracting process.

“They need to go back to the drawing board and start over,” said city council member Marci Collier Overstreet, who was one of five who voted to file the resolution. She added that officials need to rebid the contract “with clear guidelines.”

Companies vie for contract

The shuttles take arriving international travelers with their baggage to the domestic terminal, where the MARTA station is, or to the rental car center. The shuttles operate outside the terminals, while the Plane Train inside the airport whisks ticketed passengers between terminals and concourses in security-screened areas.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport earlier this year chose, through the city’s contracting process, a joint venture called ABM-All N One Security Services to operate the shuttles.

But A-National Limousine, the current operator of the airport’s terminal-to-terminal shuttles, filed a protest of the decision to award the contract ABM-All N One, and A-National representatives spoke at multiple council meetings in recent weeks to voice their opposition.

A representative for A-National said Wednesday that the city denied the protest, but the company is pushing to appeal the decision.

Anderson and his attorney contend that the winning company of the new contract, a joint venture called ABM-All N One Security Services, does not meet the city’s small business enterprise requirement, noting that ABM is a large firm.

The director of the city’s Office of Contract Compliance said during a council committee meeting that the contract requires that only one of the firms must be certified as a Small Business Enterprise, and he said that requirement was met.

ABM-All N One is a joint venture of All N One Security Services, an Atlanta-based contract security firm certified as a Small Business Enterprise, and New York-based ABM, a publicly traded company with $7.8 billion in annual revenue.

The new three-year contract is worth nearly $1.5 million in management fees, and millions more in reimbursable expenses, according to the airport.

The full council in early November passed a motion to send it back to the transportation committee, instead of taking a final vote on the deal. Then, the committee voted to hold the measure, before picking it up a third time Wednesday and voting to file it.

“It would have been always up in limbo,” said council member Antonio Lewis, who sits on the transportation committee and chaired the meeting Wednesday. Instead, he said he wanted to “file this, get this out of here, start over.”

Contract extensions

A-National has had the terminal-to-terminal shuttle contract since 2017, near the end of former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s second term. A-National’s president is Darrell Anderson, a longtime family friend of Reed.

A contracting process for a new shuttle contractor began in 2020 but was canceled because of the uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the airport. The contract with A-National was renewed, through 2021 and 2022.

A-National’s contract was set to expire at the end of last year. But the city of Atlanta’s contracting process has been delayed, prompting an extension of A-National’s contract through this year.

Along with the decision to scrap the contract for a new shuttle operator, the council transportation committee also voted Wednesday to extend A-National’s contract beyond this year on a month-to-month basis for up to six months for as much as $3.2 million.