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Airport cracking down on poor taxi service


Des Moines International Airport plans to limit taxi service at the airport to a few approved companies after complaints piled up. The city of Des Moines deregulated taxi service Jan. 1, which led to a whole range of companies serving the airport, some with questionable service.

Kevin Foley, the airport’s executive director and general manager, said the airport will consider rules that are intended to end price-gouging on short trips, sanitation issues with cabs, illegal operation without a permit, failure to take credit cards, illegal parking, tampering with a system that tracks payments to the airport, and attempts by at least one company to try to fool riders into thinking the cab was part of airport operations. Some have charged “airport fees” that don’t exist. 

Foley said the new rules will require taxi companies serving the airport — and there may be as few as two — to have cabs available when needed, have clean cabs, run a meter, have a permit and stop charging minimums as high as $20 to, say, drive someone across Fleur Drive. 

The airport now has 20 taxi companies with 157 permitted cabs. Two years ago, there were five companies with 123 vehicles. Six operators account for 90 percent of the rides now. 

Airport board member Mark Feldman said, “It’s a problem we have to cure.” He added that the current setup is not meeting riders’ expectations. 

“It has gotten out of control completely,” said Board Chairwoman Liz Ward. 

Uber and Lyft will continue to serve the airport as they are now.

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