Islip launches new look for airport taxi service

A terminal drop-off canopy, left, at Long Island

A terminal drop-off canopy, left, at Long Island MacArthur Airport. (Dec. 17, 2012) (Credit: James Carbone)

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The Town of Islip plans to reissue a bid request in the coming weeks for a sole provider of taxi service at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma after an initial request resulted in only one qualified applicant.

The town issued a request for proposals, or RFP, last month at the urging of airport Commissioner Robert Schaefer, who said he sought to overhaul what he described as a taxi system beset by inconsistent pricing and customer complaints.

Of the 11 taxi companies that expressed interest in the contract, only four applied. Of those, only one properly filed the application and was deemed qualified, automatically triggering a second RFP, Schaefer said.

Key components of the bid requirements will be altered, officials said. The town plans to eliminate the required minimum annual guarantee of revenue plus 10 percent of the company's gross revenues, which was previously demanded.

The new RFP will ask for 5 percent of the company's gross revenue from airport business, which town officials say will make for a more competitive bidding process and ensure lower fares for customers.

"Now the bid is going to be who has the best rates for the customer," Schaefer said. "It is less revenue for the airport, but these companies don't make a lot anyways."

The RFP will also give companies the option of free counter space in the terminal, where a dispatcher will handle all transactions for taxi service. The prior RFP only offered an external booth.

"This is another example of the administration's airport improvements that define MacArthur as a stress free, friendly alternative for the flying public," Supervisor Tom Croci said in an email.

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