MYR works to manage transportation network companies

MYR works to manage transportation network companies

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Transportation network companies (TNCs) like 'Uber' and 'Lyft', are relatively new in the airport industry. And airports across the country are trying to get their hands around managing what they call a "disruptive business".

When you arrive at Myrtle Beach International Airport you can see the taxicabs lined up because they have a designated area with regulations. And that is because they pay an airport fee and must show a sticker on the windshield of their vehicle.
Uber drivers, on the other hand, do not have highly enforced regulations they must follow to pick up and drop off at the airport. Most of the time they can be disguised as an average vehicle. With the growing use of TNC services more and more people are running into issues with finding them when they arrive at MYR.

"When passengers come to our information booth, and ask where their driver is picking them up, we can't tell the person we have no idea where to go," said Kirk Lovell, Horry County Assistant Director of Airports.  "What do you tell them? That's not a good first impression to the city or to the entire Grand Strand area."

There's a long list of inspections and fees required by taxicab owners to be able to operate at the Myrtle Beach Int'l airport. Most of the rules aren't strictly enforced by airport officials to Uber drivers. And some local taxicab owners feel that things should be fair.
There are a little more than 100 certified cabs drivers in Myrtle Beach, all of whom had to apply and be accepted to be a taxicab driver.
They also must have background checks, car inspections by the Myrtle Beach Taxi Enforcement Officer and display their Chauffer permit while operating their vehicle. These are all things taxicab drivers must do to be able to pick up and drop off at the airport. Bob Carroll owner of City Cab Taxi Service says those things are a part of doing business. TNCs are not required to those things, and Carroll says things should be equal.

"Paying the seven dollars to pick someone up at the airport, that's the cost of doing business,"   said Carroll. Paying the $300 a month in insurance, that's a part of doing business. Paying $130 a month per vehicle is a part of doing business… if things are fair. But when you have people out there that's not being fair about things, and are the wild wild west, it's running me and my competitors out of business."

Horry County Assistant Director of Airports Kirk Lovell says that his goal is to be able to manage the TNCs and regulate them at the airport to boost the overall customer service
He says that Horry County department of airports is looking at airports around the United States and seeing what they are doing, but everyone is trying to figure out how to manage it. There is not one set way to manage TNCs, but they are trying to find what program is the best fit for them where everyone is treated the same and fairly.

"Here at Myrtle Beach International, we're trying to comply with state law but we're also trying to identify a process to make sure that the fees charged to these TNCs is equal to what the taxicabs are paying," said Lovell.

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