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Council defers vote on airport taxicab contracts

It was a cautionary victory for Charlotte’s cabbies.

On Monday, the City Council decided to defer a vote on a proposal that would reduce the number drivers and taxicab companies that service Charlotte/Douglas International Airport from 12 to three.

But the council was quick to warn the drivers that while the deferment of the vote will put the issue on hold — and possibly result in a new request for proposals process — it will eventually result in job losses in the taxi industry.

The deferment came after a flap over the recommendation that one of the airport contracts go to King Cab, which has two owners with criminal records. City Manager Curt Walton then recommended that City Cab receive a contract, a move that has resulted in concerns about the experience of City Cab, which was formed seven months ago.

Crown Cab and Taxi USA are the other two companies recommended for the airport contract.

The owners of two cab companies — Frank Hinson with Checker Cab and Muhammed Mustafa with Universal Cab — told the City Council that the Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance told them that if they would purchase a HTA corporate sponsorship for $5,000, they would get contracts at the airport.

Those concerns, and others raised by the 16 or more speakers at the meeting, led the council to delay the vote on the airport contracts until June 13 after hours of discussion and two failed motions.

The council, in delaying the vote, said it wants to give the city time to examine the proposals submitted by cab companies and the process used by a selection committee to determine which companies should receive contracts.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at tara.ramsey@mecktimes.com.

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