STITA Replaced By Yellow Cab At Airport; Drivers Protest At Seattle City Hall

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by Jack Mayne

The Seattle Tacoma International Taxi Association (STITA) is no long providing service to passengers at the airport when at 2 a.m. Monday morning (Nov. 1st) the contract was taken over by Yellow Cab.

Most STITA cabs have only county licenses and are unable to pick up passengers inside the City of Seattle so an estimated 70 STITA cabs encircled City Hall downtown in a demonstration aimed at getting Mayor Mike McGinn to grant it temporary city licenses so it can operate in Seattle. Only 22 of the company’s 185 cabs have licenses to pick up passengers inside the city.

In a letter to the mayor, Harpreet S. Bassi, president of the STITA board of directors, said, “With Yellow Cab serving the Port now, many more City-licensed cabs are needed to avoid a shortage of taxi service in Seattle.

Dozens of cabs circled the block around Seattle City Hall in a show of support for STITA’s underemployed drivers Monday afternoon (Nov. 1st).

The Port contract with Yellow requires a large standby-by fleet of cabs at the airport so that incoming Seattle-Tacoma International Airport passengers can get taxis quickly.

“Now, Yellow Cab is serving the airport,” wrote Bassi to the mayor. “In order to fulfill its contractual commitments, including a minimum five-minute wait time for passengers, Yellow is moving a large chunk of its fleet – with more city-licensed cabs than any other taxi company in Seattle – to Sea-Tac Airport.

“With additional city licenses, STITA is ready to provide safe, reliable, professional service in its environmentally friendly vehicles to Seattle, creating a winning solution for the city and for STITA and its hundreds of families.”

The Port virtually created STITA 20 years ago in order to bring reliable taxi service to Sea-Tac that had previously seen great fluctuations of cab availabilities. Then last year, the Port decided to open the contract to bidding from the other cab companies in the area. The result was Yellow won the bid and was given the Port contract.

The change in contract was held for over two months while a legal battle launched by STITA was argued in court, a battle that STITA largely lost.

Aaron Pickus, assistant communications director in Mayor McGinn’s office, said at mid-afternoon there would be no immediate official response to the letter that they did not receive until after noon on Monday.

“They are asking for temporary licenses but the city does not issue temporary taxi licenses,” Pickus said. “We did look at the problem of cab licenses and we found there was not a need for more cab licenses at this time.”

Here’s the letter STITA sent to Mayor McGinn (click image to see larger version):

Click image to see larger version.

STITA Drivers protest outside Seattle City Hall Monday afternoon.

Read our previous coverage of the STITA issue here.

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2 Responses to “STITA Replaced By Yellow Cab At Airport; Drivers Protest At Seattle City Hall”
  1. John Bailo says:

    STITA is absolutely right! Car prices, for the distance and service, around Puget Sound and in Seattle are egregiously high. They need more competition and more cabs.

    I have argued for a long time that the use of taxis could reduce our need for public transit by a significant amount — having less need for unused bus lines or specialty trips.

    For those who cannot afford a cab, special subsidies when appropriate should be provided.

    Seattle’s transit problems will become a whole lot better when I can take a cab from downtown to Broadway for $5 or less.

  2. Ananymous says:

    Ananymous says:
    November 17, 2010 at 10:11 pm
    I greatly appericiate their (STITA) contribution in sustaining our environment by turning first taxi company in Wa, probably in our Nation as 100% green fleet. They have helped in reduction of carbon emissions enormously by couple thousands metric tons on the anual basis since past to the present. I am an environmentalist and urge everyone else like me to ride STITA green cabs. I had good experience with their service and so did several others i know of. I don’t understand what they did wrong after reading the articles about the bidding process at the airport other than our system probably is becoming inexplicable just like in the third world countries. To person like at my level as a true citizen, all it matters to support the organizations who are cutting down on Carbon footprint specially those who were at the front of the line and brought a change. I surely mean STITA cab co. helped the first green port (SEA-TAC) in our nation to achieve their goal and in return look what STITA got. I wish STITA best of luck and encourage them to stick with their VOW to restore our environment. GO STITA, GO GREEN.

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