HOUSTON - The city council is in talks about starting on-call, residential shuttle van service to and from Houston airports. The door-to-door, shared-ride van service would transport as many as eight people at a time from the same area of town, and compete directly with taxicab and limousine service in the airport market.
Such service would cut into roughly five percent of limousine business, according to David Schovajsa, president of the Limousine Association of Houston.
"We do feel it will hamper our service a bit," Schovajsa said. "It may not be a very large impact because of our clients' time requirements - they want to be picked up and gone without having to make intermediate stops." Because the door-to-door shuttle would have to make stops at several locations, the client departing from the airport would likely have to leave up to four hours prior to the flight rather than two.
"It will have an impact on perhaps the casual business traveler and intermittent traveler," Schovasja predicted.
The proposal will be discussed in the city council regulatory affairs meetings. The city's aviation department conducted a study that indicated it would be economically viable for two operators to run a residential, door-to-door shuttle. Those findings were presented in the meeting. The study also showed that 18 out of 20 airports comparable in size to Bush Intercontinental have shuttle services, and 16 out of 20 airports in Hobby's category have shuttle services.
"We plan to get involved in the regulatory meetings for certain. Any other lobbying we do would be with individual council members. We will express to them how it could impact our industry to some degree," Schovajsa said.