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OCR for page 158
158 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation Inability to balance supply and demand--In communities where the number of ground trans- portation providers exceeds passenger demand, operators will experience long waits and earn less revenue. Some drivers may be tempted to improperly solicit passengers or engage in other illegal activities. Conversely, in a community with few taxis or other ground transportation services, there may not be enough airport service during late night hours, periods of inclement weather, or when there are requests for service at other locations (e.g., downtown or a convention center). Exclusive and Semi-Exclusive Concessions Agreements Most airport managers have agreements with concessionaires to provide certain services on an exclusive or semi-exclusive basis. Concessionaires typically include hotels, food and beverage sellers, and rental car companies. Concession agreements specify the services that the companies are allowed to offer at the airport, the manner in which they are to be offered, the prices or mark- up permitted, and the airport fees and charges. The fees are normally calculated on the basis of some measure of activity (e.g., percentage of gross revenues or per deplaning passenger) and include a required minimum annual guaranteed payment. Concession agreements are usually awarded through a competitive bid or proposal process that allows airport management to con- sider the experience of the operator, service quality, and fees. Many airports also use exclusive or semi-exclusive concession agreements for ground access services, including taxi, shared-ride van, and scheduled bus or van service. As part of a conces- sion agreement, airport management typically specifies the minimum required service standards. These standards may include the following: Minimum hours of operation--For example, a concessionaire may be required to ensure that vehicles are waiting at the airport from the time of first arriving flight until 1 hour after the last scheduled arriving flight. Adequate supply of vehicles--A concessionaire may be required to ensure that sufficient vehicles will be available to serve the expected volume of deplaning passengers at all times, particularly at airports with a small public transportation market or that experience seasonal fluctuations in demand. Level of customer service--The concession agreement may specify the maximum waiting times, the maximum number of en route stops, requirements for transporting disabled passengers, acceptance of credit cards, and requirements for schedule adherence. Fares or surcharges--Airport management may require the concessionaire to specify its fare structure, including applicable surcharges (e.g., for baggage). Geographic coverage--The request for proposals or bids would typically specify the minimum geographic area(s) that the concessionaire would serve. Vehicle standards--Concession agreements typically specify the required standards for vehi- cle safety (e.g., properly functioning brakes, lights, and emissions controls), cleanliness (e.g., prohibition of dents, rust, or torn or soiled seats), convenience and comfort (e.g., air conditioning), two-way radio, exterior signage or lettering, and maximum age of vehicle. The agreement may also specify vehicle size, passenger capacity (e.g., number of seats), and bag- gage room, if these standards are not already defined by local authorities. Driver standards--Agreements typically establish or support airport standards for expected driver behavior (e.g., no solicitation), appearance and attire, personal hygiene, local knowl- edge, and/or customer service skills. Balancing Supply and Demand Concession agreements allow airport management to balance supply and demand by requiring the contractor to direct company-controlled drivers to serve (or not serve) the airport as warranted.