Jackson, of Discount, questioned how Visum and Apache could come through on their bids: "How are you guys going to handle a proposer that's overbid and cannot handle the service levels at Sky Harbor?" he asked the council members.

Councilwoman Peggy Neely almost chopped Jackson's head off.

She asked Discount if it had bid $11,305 per cab. Yes, Jackson said, it had.

"That's only a $7,000 difference then. Thank you," she snapped. Never mind that $7,000 per cab, in a fleet of 20, is a huge difference: $140,000 annually could certainly make or a break a small company in this economy.

Ultimately, Neely had nothing but praise for the staff members who put the RFP together.

"Kudos," Neely told the staff. "I know you've been dealing with these issues for years. You've brought this down and done an excellent job."

"I think you guys have done an excellent job," Councilman Michael Johnson agreed. The committee sent the list of three winning bids on to the full council with a unanimous vote.

I found myself marveling at that vote as I stood in the parking lot of the UPS Store last week, trying in vain to find the corporate office for Visum Investments.

There are plenty of questions the council needs to be asking here. Just who is behind Visum Investments? How do they know the guys from Apache Taxi? Does Apache's owner really not get along with AAA? And what's going to happen if — shock of shockers — Visum can't manage to come through on its bid? In that case, does AAA pick up the slack — or does the city admit it failed and start things over?

Call me a cynic, but I'm not ready to give "kudos" to the airport staff just yet. Until I see an actual fleet of Visum and Apache taxis ready to handle airport travelers, and not just 180 cabs from AAA, I'm going to reserve my judgment.

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10 comments
info3477
info3477

The City of Phoenix should not be in the business of monopolizing services of any company. The State already has standards in place that a new company must comply with to be in business legally. In today's economy a government entity such as the City of Phoenix should be inviting new businesses not placing new regulation why new small businesses can not service certain Phoenix run places like the airport.

It also sends a message that the public does not have the right to choose a company they wish to do business with.

111
111

I really am surprised with the wording this reporter is using. I tought you have to have some education to become a spankin'-new journalist. Being respectfull during the report it is of importatnts,

searching for answers
searching for answers

Sarah, Once again, outstanding investigative reporting. The part about the call from the jail to get picked up certainly honed in at the core of what we all seem to know are "kick-backs" -- where's the oversight? Maybe, when a country sheriff (one of 15 in the state) takes control of those up the chain and the entire state, with investigations, then he and his legal side-kick thomas just can keep concocting schemes? Searching for answers... Where's the 24/7 grandstanding thomas on this "taxi driver" issue?

A Republic Employee might say:
A Republic Employee might say:

The AZ Republic always steals their news ideas from the New Times. And if they aren't stealing them from New Times, they are just re-reporting them on Channel 12.

TinyElvis
TinyElvis

excellent reporting. The Republic did a putrid job at ripping your story off and only got a 1/3 of it right.

there's more to this story...The Airport is a racket and the political favors played out of that Dept. are disgustingly outlandish. Mark Flatten did an excellent job exposing the lavish contracts awarded at the Airport as a means of political favor:

http://www.goldwaterinstitute....

The City claims they award these contracts with tight restrictions in the name of cleaning the air.

What a load of crap. The city abandoned the clean air program years ago and will now allow E-85 vehicles to operate at the airport, with no rules in place or enforcement to ensure drivers are using E85 and not gasoline.

The whole thing is one big cluster f*@k and Aviation staff needs to be cleansed.

And shame on city council members for going along with this sham for a mere $3M in additional revenue.

Daniel
Daniel

Discount executives are a bunch of hypocrites they have the highest leases of all the cab companies in the valley promote hybrids that ya think would be cheaper for passengers to ride in cause they dont use as much fuel but they dont they charge the passengers the same as a regular cab because they charge the drivers more to lease them then they wanna cry foul when they think thier being black balled waa waa waa what a bunch of compulsive liars and cheats funny how they dont like it when shoe is on other foot

Mike
Mike

Pinckard and Jackson are right on the money with their question about what will the city do when the selected providers can't make good on the contract. I've driven for Discount Cab for a few years now (though not at the airport) and can tell you the math is pretty simple. AAA pays more to have the cabs at the airport, so they charge the drivers more to lease them. Higher leases mean drivers working longer hours (yes the statutory limit is a mere 14 hours a day behind the wheel, but take a guess how well it's enforced) taking stimulants to stay awake, and ripping off anyone they can in order to make that dollar. Driver turnover and driver accidents will go up, meaning expenses incurred by AAA will also go up.

Over the summer, Discount was forced to lower the lease rates at Sky Harbor because airport traffic was down so much our drivers weren't making enough money there. Given that airport cab stands are a pure commodity, how is AAA going to fulfill the contract when they have to charge their drivers more, not less? What kind of people can they hire at $5 per hour?

Theoretically laissez faire capitalism will fix this, once it becomes clear exactly how much they overbid the deal, and how badly the city goofed in awarding it to them and the other two fronts. I'd expect the fit to hit the shan sometime this August.

Searching for answers..
Searching for answers..

Your story is so important and the average person might not get how significant it is. If they read the following links, then go back to "Taxi Driver", the picture becomes crystal clear.

Internet scam -- UPS Post office boxes as corporate headquarters -- and on and on.

American Police Force: Internet Scam? : Internet Law and Business BlogSep 29, 2009 ... What in Hades is going on in Montana? In April 2009, Two Rivers Authority and the Hardin City Council started ...mikeyounglaw.com/wp/2009/.../a... - Cached

American Police Force news video!Sep 29, 2009 ... MORE comments from http://mikeyounglaw.com/wp/200... internet-scam/#respond: "Great job Mr. Young. ...www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-b... - Cached

Come and Take It RadioAmerican Police Force: Internet Scam? http://mikeyounglaw.com/wp/200... american-police-force-internet-scam/#xA6RCMZZaJscyIrK ...comeandtakeitradio.blogspot.co... - Cached

This is fucking weird. Some of the weirdest shit I have ever seen ...Sep 30, 2009 ... I just found suggesting it might be a scam of some type: http://mikeyounglaw .com/wp/2009/09/29/american-police-force-internet-scam/ ...

www.reddit.com/.../this_is_fuc... - Cached

Spokeswhore for 'American Police Force' felons has nervous ...27 posts - 8 authors - Last post: Oct 7

http://mikeyounglaw.com/wp/200... Note how none of the following videos complain about jailing ...www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.as... - Cached

Bad News, Good NewsOct 1, 2009 ... http://mikeyounglaw.com/wp/200.... 36. sistermoon3 10.01.09 at 2:29 pm ...pumapac.org/2009/10/01/bad-new... - Cached***Hardin, USA: APF exposed as a United Nations Civilian Police ...40 posts - 19 authors - Last post: Sep 29

http://mikeyounglaw.com/wp/200... What in Hades is going on in Montana? In April 2009, Two Rivers ...

forum.prisonplanet.com/index.p... - Cached

searching for answers..
searching for answers..

Outstanding investigative reporting, Sarah! As I read followed your journey through Corporate Arizona, into the strip malls, and i could imagine your standing at the UPS station by Pei Wei looking for the taxis. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. Unfortunately, your article puts a face on Corporate Arizona and the Phoenix city council. They sound like the city council in Hardin, Montana signing a contract to sell their unoccupied $27,000,000 jail in a town of 3,400 to APF - American Police Force run by criminals! A grassroots effort along with media got to the core of that one. Here you single-handedly served this one up on a silver platter! Keep this story alive because it's the tip of the iceberg of how business is done in Arizona.

American Police Force: Internet Scam? : Internet Law and Business Blog

http://mikeyounglaw.com/wp/200...

Arthur Frommer better hear about this. His followers won't want to hop in a cab only to find themselves God knows where in the desert. How about investigating those who so indifferently signed the contract.

 
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