Taxi drivers react to new airport policies

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - On October 1 of this year, a new set of ground transportation rules will go into effect at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport.

Since the Airport Authority proposed the resolution, they have given taxi drivers an opportunity to submit comments, attend meeting, and express their concerns, but these drivers feel like their concerns went unheard.

"This decision by the airport results in one thing, another financial burden on the small business person," said Leisa Leisey.

Leisey is President of the Gulf Coast Taxi Drivers Association. Leisey and other drivers feel they have not been given justification as to why the airport is asking them to now carry a $500,000 insurance policy versus the $300,000 the majority of them already have.

"I mean, if we had a bunch of accidents all the time that would be one thing, but about the only accident we ever have is maybe somebody running into us or getting rear ended," said Bill Warren, who owns Royal Transit Incorporated.

These drivers say New Orleans, Jackson, Mississippi and Mobile airport taxi drivers are only required to carry a $300,000 policy. Since this airport is much smaller than those, they don't understand why they are now being asked to carry a bigger policy.

"The $500,000 worth of insurance will cost each and every independent cab driver an extra $1,600 a year just to be in business," said Jack Gazzo Jr., who is co-owner of Value Cab.

Some drivers have even proposed taking legal action. Before they go that far, they hope between now and October 1, there is still time to work something out with the airport.

"We have an association, the Gulf Coast Taxi Association. They should recognize that as a leadership body, and when these things come up and they think they need changes, come to us and let's discuss them in a workshop type thing," said Bill Warren.

Some other changes in the resolution include lowering flat rates for passengers and requiring all taxis to accept credit and debit cards.

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