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May 16, 2008 | General

EDMONTON — Edmonton Airports today took the first step toward a higher quality of taxi service at the International Airport. Effective May 1, 1996, the “modified open stand” which has operated at the International for approximately two years will be converted to a single entity stand.

“In recent research conducted with our customers, a very significant number of people told us they were concerned about the quality of taxi service — safety, cleanliness, reliability — in addition to the cost,” said Diane Leonard, the Airport’s Terminal Manager. “The best way for us to ensure a high level of service quality for customers is to manage the taxi stand in partnership with a single entity, whether that is a single taxi company or a consortium of interested parties.”

Edmonton Airports requested proposals from the taxi industry at a meeting held this afternoon. In addition, Requests for Proposals are being mailed to all interested parties in the Edmonton region. The proposal period closes on March 27 at 2:00 pm, followed by an evaluation period. The contract will be awarded in early April and the new system will take effect on May 1.

The new system will not prevent any cab driver from dropping passengers off at the International Airport, nor will it prevent any cab driver from picking up a fare at the International Airport if that fare has been pre-arranged between the driver and passenger. However, only drivers working for the successful taxi entity will be permitted to wait in the taxi queue for trips which were not pre-arranged.

“This system will permit us to introduce a very high level of vehicle maintenance, vehicle cleanliness, driver education, driver comportment and standardization of fares,” said Leonard. “We will be able to work closely with the management of the successful bidder to establish standards and enforce those standards. We expect the outcome will be a higher quality of service for customers, which is our objective.”