The GIAA issued an RFP for an exclusive concession contract for one taxicab company to operate out of the AB Won Pat International Airport.
Guam – Guam International Airport taxi drivers are concerned over an RFP the Guam International Airport Authority issued that would give an exclusive taxi service contract to just one company.
At least three taxi corporations say the sudden change could put them out of work.
The Guam International Airport Authority on December 18 issued a request for proposal for a taxicab concession for the airport. The winning bidder would get an exclusive five year contract to provide taxicab services to arriving passengers at the AB Won Pat International Airport.
“We’re trying to figure out why they’re focusing on the taxi cabs. Currently at the airport, like for transportation services, like the rental car, shuttle service, there’s more than one company. Why is the focus on taxi?” says Noel Roque, one of the taxi drivers who could be affected by the RFP.
Roque is one of the many concerned taxi drivers who’s opposed to this RFP. He and many others like him believe it’s unfair because the criteria for the RFP appears to be geared toward bigger companies. Roque says the way the RFP is written is not competitive in nature. Smaller taxi service companies like Wave, Independent and Resort, Roque says, would not stand a chance.
“It’s so stringent,” he says. “Big business is the only one that can afford it. Small business owners like us will not be able to afford it.”
The criteria under the RFP states that bidders must have a fleet of at least 35 vehicles of which three must be Americans With Disabilities Act accessible, four must allow for oversized luggage, and seven must allow for large parties.
The vehicles cannot be more than five years old, they must have air conditioning and the interior cannot have any rips, holes clutter or unpleasant odor. The exterior paint and graphics must also meet airport standards.
“Most of our guys, like Independent, they’ve been here since 2000. So it’s about 15 years they’ve been servicing the airport,” notes Roque.
Airport Authority Spokesperson Rolenda Faasumalie, in an email, told PNC that the RFP is “all part of a concerted effort to improve our level of service and increased demand for taxi service.” She also says that because Guam now has low cost airline carriers, they’re seeing an increase in free and independent travelers who prefer direct services to hotels instead of tour packages.
The current operation, says Faasuamalie, allows for multiple taxi services which in turn creates a competitive environment and “affects the passengers negatively in being approached by four different service providers.”
“As far as I know at least for our taxis, we have not received any complaints from our customers. If there is, then which taxi company?” Roque points out. “And another thing, the reason why we’re against exclusive ownership, number one, if you have one taxi exclusively to one, that’s where you have issues with price gouging. Customers will not have any choice as far as taxis.”
“We feel bad because right now. We’re thinking about that. We’re thinking about losing our jobs. losing money. So right now we’re trying to go to every senator,” says Albert Calinagan, another taxi driver who’s upset with the RFP.
“For the economy or for the community over all, it’s bad business. A lot of people, where are they gonna go? Food stamps? Again, that’s–if anything that’s gonna be a burden to the government. Pretty much 60, 70-something drivers, with the dispatchers and employees,” says Roque.
Roque also points out that the Airport Authority’s concession contract is not in line with Governor Calvo’s initiative to fight for the weak and voiceless.
He says while the airport is an autonomous agency, the governor would ultimately have the ability to intervene.