Taxi service chosen for MacArthur airport

A line of taxis wait for customers at A line of taxis wait for customers at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma. (Jan. 24, 2013) Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

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Officials have chosen a company to provide taxi service at Long Island MacArthur Airport, after the lone qualified bidder agreed to lower its fare rates by 30 percent.

The roughly 10 taxi companies operating at the airport must cease operations by Feb. 1, when the contract for Islandia-based JTE Enterprises Inc., which operates Lindy's and Village taxi companies, is set to begin, airport officials said.

Under the proposed contract, JTE would provide exclusive 24-hour cab service at the airport and a shuttle between the facility and the nearby Long Island Rail Road's Ronkonkoma stop.

"They came back voluntarily and lowered the rates," said Airport Commissioner Robert Schaefer. "It's good for the customer. You pay the dispatcher . . . It's going to be all the same rates. It's not going to change cab by cab."

A man who identified himself by phone as the general manager of JTE declined to comment Thursday, saying he could not discuss the contract until the Islip town board votes on it Tuesday.

The town issued a request for proposals in November, seeking to professionalize the airport's taxi fleet, which has drawn complaints about inconsistent pricing.

Of the four taxi companies that bid, two met the minimum bid requirements, which included their putting up a $10,000 bid bond to prove they were serious. Of the two qualified bidders, only JTE met all of the bid's qualifications, including having a large enough fleet, officials said.

The town had planned to reissue its request for proposals, to eliminate the required minimum annual guarantee of revenue plus 10 percent of the company's gross revenue, but decided instead to negotiate with JTE, officials said.

"We had a proposal that did meet the basic qualifications, and they were able to change their prices to meet the needs of the people who use the airport," said Janessa M. Trotto, an assistant town attorney. "Under New York State case law, we're allowed to do that."

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