GCLA Combats Proposed Fee Increase At LAX

Posted on August 18, 2010 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

Operators already pay much higher fees than cab drivers, despite the fact that cabs account for 41% of ground transportation access at the airport.

LOS ANGELES — California operators are trying to stop a steep proposed fee increase on charter-party operators serving the Los Angeles International Airport, while fees for taxi-cab drivers would remain at a fraction of what operators pay.

A group of officers and members from the GREATER CALIFORNIA LIVERY ASSOCIATION appeared at a Los Angeles World Airports Commissioners meeting Aug. 9 to address the inequities inherent in the proposed fee hike. As a result, the staff of one of the commissioners will meet with GCLA representatives in coming weeks to possibly modify the proposal.

Proposed inequities

Under the proposal, charter party carriers, which include chauffeured transportation operators, would face an increase in access fees from $3 to $4 per trip. Charter vehicles are now assessed 27.3% of all airport access fees, despite the fact they take up only 15.5% of all ground transportation access to the airport. Charter vehicle operators pay the second highest access fees behind only shared ride vans which are charged $5 per trip.

Such carriers also must pay an additional $3 to $6 in parking fees for each vehicle so the chauffeur can walk into the baggage claim area to greet the client.

Taxicabs, however, use 41% of the access to LAX but are assessed only 11.4% of the total usage fees. The proposal calls for the taxicab access fee to remain at 50 cents, thereby resulting in the cabs being assessed only 10% of all access fees as the share for charter party carriers would increase to 31.3%. Cabs also can pull up to designated curbside taxi-stands at each of the airport’s eight terminals to pick up passengers.

“In view of the apparent inequities in fee structure and the economic realities facing the airport and the industry, we request you re-evaluate the proposed increase of fees on charter vehicles and assess taxicabs a more equitable fee for their usage/access to reach your cost recovery goals,” said Jonna Sabroff, a GCLA board member, in prepared remarks to the commission. Sabroff is also president of Integrated Transportation Services (ITS), based in Beverly Hills.

GCLA alternative

Sabroff put forward a proposal that would raise the fees on cabs from 50 cents to $1 per airport run, raising an additional $677,604 in revenue for LAX. Sabroff told the commission that the general public using the cabs would pay the $1 fee, which means it would be a “pass through” cost with no effects on taxicab companies and drivers.

The proposed increase is now on hold as the GCLA has been invited to work with Commissioner Ryan Yakubik and the finance and budget staff at LAX.

Improving service

The GCLA also is working with the airport to address other operator concerns about how to best create a customer experience at LAX for first and business class passengers, who often use reservation-based chauffeured transportation to and from the airport:

• Lack of designated areas to pick up and drop off passengers

• Long waits to enter the central terminal area because of the trip ticket process.

• Long waits to exit parking structures, especially on evenings, weekends, and holidays.

• Aggressive enforcement against charter vehicles curbside while loading and unloading passengers.

• Aggressive enforcement against charter vehicles in holding lot and with passengers in the vehicles

— Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine

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