Cab Drivers Say They Are Being Treated Unfairly At The Airport - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Cab Drivers Say They Are Being Treated Unfairly At The Airport

There is a growing controversy at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Some cab drivers are upset with officials at the airport, and say they are losing a lot of money. The controversy involves not only the cab drivers, but also casino shuttle buses.

A representative from the shuttle buses is allowed inside the terminal, but the cab drivers are not allowed in to solicit business. One of the cab drivers, Joanne Glenn, says that is not fair. She says, "The people come out of the airport and go straight to the shuttle because this girl inside is soliciting with a radio grabbing the people and pointing out and even bringing them out to the shuttles.

According to airport officials the booth specifically for the casino shuttle service, was allowed inside the terminal for a very good reason. Ken Spirito says many passengers, who had package deals with the casinos that included transportation from the airport, were mistakenly getting into cabs instead of the casino shuttle. "We have casinos that have contracted specific transportation needs for their passengers, and that is why they are in the terminal building to meet and greet their passengers to take them to their property."

But the cab drivers say, the casino shuttle is violating the terms of the deal, and often taking passengers other than those on casino package deals. Glenn says its gotten out of hand. "They take people to Pascagoula. They take people to the boats like a charter boat they do not have a contract with." In other words, the cabbies say the shuttles are acting like a taxi service and taking business away from them.

Airport officials concede that could be an isolated problem, but feel the transportation system is working well. A a spokesman for the casino shuttle insist the shuttle is not taking business away from the cab drivers. Dave Desean claims quite the opposite has happened, he says, "The actual amount of cab rides has increased. Now, the amount of cab drivers choosing to work has also increased so that will bring down the income." Desean insists statistics kept by the airport will back up his claim that the cabs are getting more business.

As for the cab drivers, they aren't buying it. Glenn says the days out at the airport, can be very long. "Sometimes we will sit here for six hours, and not even move, and just watch the shuttle load up one after another it's just not fair."

By Jeff Lawson

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