A contract with an Islandia-based taxi company has been extended for an additional year to provide services at Long Island MacArthur Airport.
JTE Enterprises was initially awarded a three-year contract with Islip Town in January 2013 that came with an option for two 1-year extensions.
Shelley LaRose-Arken, the Ronkonkoma airport’s commissioner, recommended that the town renew the contract for the first one-year period, she said.
“They’re a tenant in good standing, they pay on time, they provide a reputable and safe service and those are the things we look at when we decide to do an option year or go look for new proposals,” LaRose-Arken said in an interview.
JTE pays the town 10 percent of its total gross revenue with a $30,000 annual minimum guarantee, the commissioner said. In 2015, the company paid an additional concession fee of $3,000, making total revenue for the town that year at $33,000.
Bob Piccia, a manager at the company, said in the three years it has been offering taxi rides and shuttle service to the nearby Long Island Rail Road station, business over the last year “is considerably down” due to the lack of flights going in and out.
“You can just go down there and see that’s the case,” Piccia said. “If there’s less planes going in and out, there’s less cabs going in and out.”
JTE was the lone qualified bidder out of four at the time of the initial RFP, Newsday reported in 2013, and was chosen after it agreed to lower its fares by 30 percent. About 10 taxi companies were forced to cease operating at the airport that year when the JTE contract for exclusive 24-hour cab service began.
The town issued the RFP in November 2012 in an attempt to professionalize the taxi fleet that had drawn complaints about price gouging. At the time JTE was chosen, an official from another firm, Winston Transportation Group of Medford, told the Town Board at a public meeting that the process was “very flawed” and “not as transparent as it should have been” and that it did not provide a fair shot for them or others to bid meaningfully.
The airport commissioner at the time lauded the town’s choice and said consumers would be getting the lowest rates.