December 2011 Update: The new cab companies will not be starting in November as planned due to litigation. The incumbent companies will continue to operate until the situation is worked through the court system.
By Jasen Lee, Deseret News, Oct. 25, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY — Passengers at Salt Lake City International Airport will hail a new ride beginning next month.
Two new cab companies have been awarded contracts to provide taxi service at the state's largest airport. The new providers will begin service in late November.
According to a release Tuesday from the Salt Lake City Department of Airports, Ace Taxi Service and Total Transit were selected in a competitive bid process. The companies will replace Yellow, Ute and City Cab, whose contracts are about to expire, said airport spokesperson Barbara Gann.
Companies submitted proposals that where ranked by a seven-member voting panel. Among the six criteria evaluated by the panel were quality of service, driver programs, operational plan, prior general and specialized experience, fees and financial performance.
"Taxi cab service is an integral part of airport operations and customers in Salt Lake City will experience an upgraded level of service with the new providers," said Maureen Riley, executive director of the Salt Lake City Department of Airports.
The companies plan to offer opportunities to current local drivers who have a demonstrated record of competence and quality customer service.
Riley said the new companies would provide "an exceptional approach to full service transportation," featuring newer and more alternative fuel vehicles that are company owned and professionally maintained. Each vehicle will be equipped with external and internal cameras as well as handicapped accessible vehicles.
Taxi staging will also be improved with global positioning systems and enhanced systematic trip management, the release stated. Vehicles will also be equipped with electronic maps and back seat credit card payment systems. In addition to on-demand service, customers will be able to make reservations and track them via mobile and other electronic devices.
"The new cab concession will result in better service for customers citywide, not just the airport, as well as taxi cab drivers," said Peter Mandle, consultant to Salt Lake City Corp. "Customers will experience significant benefits from the new taxi cab program."