"All three approaches lead to concession. It is the mindset of the board to take this to concession and that is something that I am not in favor of," said San Diego cabbie Edris Wahab at Thursday's board meeting of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
"Now, I don't see a future here at the airport," added Wahab, who has taken passengers to and from Lindbergh Field for more than five years. The cab driver was one of many to comment during Thursday's meeting on the fate of ground transportation at San Diego International Airport.
Board members were asked to choose from three options: take bids from large transportation providers, such as Cloud 9 Super Shuttle, to run ground transportation in the airport; enter into a partnership with the existing ground transportation industry to improve service and increase oversight; or continue down the road they now are on.
Early in deliberations, the nine board members seemed to lean toward a partnership with existing ground transportation.
The proposal would require cab and shuttle companies to meet safety and service standards set by the Airport Authority. If the services and standards improve after a year, existing ground transportation will remain behind the wheel at airport terminals. However, if the standards are not met in that time, then the airport authority will hear proposals from other taxi and shuttle concessionaires.
San Diego cabbie Wahab wasn't the only person in the crowd who didn't consider the second option fair. “This is a kangaroo court, and I can see this,” said John Hawkins, president and chief executive officer for transportation concessionaire Cloud 9 Super Shuttle. "We are not asking for another 6 months, 12 months, 2 years. We have been uniformed, organized, and safe since 1991. You were here when [Metropolitan Transit System] did the safety checks on the taxicabs and 85 percent failed. We pay with one check and we do everything right."
Board member Admiral Bruce Boland jumped at the marsupial reference made by Hawkins. "John [Hawkins], you and I have been friends for a long, long time, and we've done a lot of things together. I'm sure you meant that comment about kangaroo court as a little tongue-in-cheek. This is not a kangaroo court."
Minutes later the board voted unanimously to partner up with and make improvements to the current transportation providers.