Battle rages on between airport authority and taxi drivers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Battle rages on between airport authority and taxi drivers

Drivers with the Gulf Coast Taxi Association felt like their voices were not being heard by officials with the airport authority, which is why they felt the need to hire legal counsel. (Photo source: WLOX) Drivers with the Gulf Coast Taxi Association felt like their voices were not being heard by officials with the airport authority, which is why they felt the need to hire legal counsel. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Several taxi drivers attended Wednesday's airport authority meeting, but this time they had their lawyer present. This disagreement started months ago, when the airport authority announced that Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport would be enforcing stricter rules on their taxi drivers.

Two of the major changes were the new flat rate map, and the increased insurance policy drivers will have to carry. Taxi drivers have opposed these changes from the beginning, but now they have involved a lawyer.

"I hope we will not have to file suit, and ask the courts for an injunction against these rates," said Attorney Michael Prestia.

Drivers with the Gulf Coast Taxi Association felt like their voices were not being heard by officials with the airport authority, which is why they felt the need to hire legal counsel.

"The rate map that you briefly discussed, without any discussion, and approved is arbitrary, capricious. There is no formula supporting it," said Prestia.

Attorney Michael Prestia addressed the board about the new flat rate map, and how big of a price difference it is from what most drivers are currently charging.

"The airport rate map further does not provide accurate calculation of distance, fare, no consideration of wait time or any out of route stops," said Prestia.

Airport Director Clay Williams disagrees, saying the flat rate map prices were well researched.

"We had a formula. We looked at what it would cost to get to certain points in each zone. We arrived at an average, and again the reason for the rate map is good customer service," said Williams.

Another major concern for the drivers was the proposed increase in the insurance policy drivers will have to carry. It was recommended that all drivers go from carrying a $300,000 policy to a $500,000 policy.

"One of the things the Airport Authority opted to do today is keep that the same, keep our insurance at the same level requirement that we currently have today," said Williams.

The proposed policy changes are set to go into effect on October 11, 2014. Those drivers who do not comply with the new rules will be asked to no longer work with the airport.

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