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Charlotte Revises Taxi List For Airport

The City of Charlotte has been trying to limit the number of cab companies that serve Charlotte Douglas airport. Last month, the city picked three cab companies. King/Royal was one of them. Its owners served time in federal prison. The City Manger has come out with a revised list of recommended cab companies and King/Royal no longer makes the cut. City Manager Curt Walton has decided it's not in the city's and public's interest to award a coveted airport contract to King/Royal Cab. The city had initially chosen the company and two others to serve the airport. But that was before it came out that two of King/Royal's owners were convicted in 2006 of scheming to buy 40 fake drivers' licenses. Although Airport Director Jerry Orr continued to support the company for a contract, Mayor Anthony Foxx threatened to use his veto power to stop city council from approving the contracts. Walton now recommends City Cab take King/Royal's place. That has Estifanos Gebregziabher, a driver and partial-owner of City Cab, very pleased. "When you look at the comparison working at the city and working at the airport, I guess, working at the airport can make more money than working at the city," says Gebregziabher. The trips are generally longer and taxis don't have to waste gas trolling for a passenger. But that means 60 drivers who depend on airport fares will be spending their time scouring city streets. Many taxi drivers worry that could put them out of a job. City officials say fewer taxi companies at the airport will improve the experience for passengers. The airport is requiring taxis awarded the contract to have GPS systems, credit card swipes in the backseat, and be no older than six years. City Council is scheduled to vote on the contracts on Monday.