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Taxi drivers protest fees, Disney shuttle

Discussion in 'Ground & Air Transportation' started by wannab@dis, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. wannab@dis

    wannab@dis Well-Known Member

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    Several of us said that the livery group would not be happy even though DME employees were moved. It seems we were right. They won't be happy as long as DME is available for free. I hope that Disney EXTENDS the free period!





    Taxi drivers protest fees, Disney shuttle

    Beth Kassab and Jerry W. Jackson
    Sentinel Staff Writers

    October 4, 2005

    Frustrated by rising fuel costs, higher lease fees, and a free airport bus service, taxi drivers demonstrated Monday at Orlando International Airport and in downtown Orlando.

    Dozens of taxi drivers organized a strike at the airport, lining up in the holding lane but refusing to take passengers, though several cabs were still available for service.

    Drivers said it is increasingly difficult to operate at the airport. They want lower lease fees from the companies that own the taxis, and they want airport officials to end a contract for Disney's Magical Express, a free airport-to-hotel shuttle that began in May.

    "Nobody makes money here," said taxi driver Frank Garcia, one of those at the airport. "They killed the taxi business and the town-car business here."

    Airport officials said Monday's demonstration caused no disruptions for passengers.

    The Magical Express service, approved by the airport, is provided by Mears Transportation under contract to Disney.

    Some 5,000 passengers use the service every day.

    Drivers said they are also frustrated by Mears' recent decision to raise the weekly fee it charges them to lease its vehicles. Town-car drivers protested Monday at Mears' downtown headquarters, saying their lease fee was just increased from $700 to $850 a week.

    "This year there is just no way to keep up," said Selidieu St. Jean, who has worked for Mears' town-car division for the past nine years. "We used to have enough business in Orlando, but now we don't. So I'm out of business after nine years. I can't afford it."

    Mears spokesman Roger Chapin said the fee increase was a standard yearly increase that occurs in mid-September or October, as business starts to pick up before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

    Chapin said the company understands the drivers' concerns but does not intend to lower its lease rates.

    "Fuel prices are compounding the problem," Chapin said. "It's been a hot, slow, expensive summer, and I think we're seeing the frustration."

    He said Magical Express is not to blame for what drivers say is a major slowdown in business at the airport.

    "We just haven't seen the decline in the demand for service," he said. "Not from the customers."

    Last month, taxi and luxury-car drivers won some concessions from Orlando International officials, who told Disney that its airport greeters would no longer be allowed to stand on the third level of the main terminal to direct passengers to Magical Express.

    No other transportation company can have greeters on the third level, the airport said, so it made the change out of fairness to the others.

    Beth Kassab can be reached at bkassab@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5448. Jerry W. Jackson can be reached at 407-420-5721 or jwjackson@orlandosentinel.com.
     
  2. bgraham34

    bgraham34 Well-Known Member

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    Well its not too smart to not take passengers if they are hurtng for money now is it.
     
  3. brich

    brich New Member

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    Sure sounds like a sure proof way of maintaining some of their livery business. Like I posted in previous threads on this topic. Only the strong survive. Make the changes needed to compete. Don't throw up your arms and pout. I'm feeling less and less sorry for these livery services. They best no interfere with my arrival at MCO in 2 weeks. Stay out of the way of my renatl car. I'm on vacation dang it!! :eek:

    What I still don't ubderstand, and I'm sure someone can clear this up... :lookaroun
    How many of you hire a towncar or a taxi to get to WDW from the airport? If the free Disney bus service was not an option, would any of you be hiring a towncar or cab??? :veryconfu
     
  4. DisneyMissy

    DisneyMissy New Member

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    They must be forgetting that they based their entire business on WDW. If it wasn't for them they probably would not even have a business. By not running their taxis cost them even more money, how stupid can they be. I am using the DME dang it and nothing is changing my mind. They are making me think why even use these companies if this is the way they act.
     
  5. Shaman

    Shaman Well-Known Member

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    I wonder what will happen if these people keep pushing Disney's buttons....
     
  6. Cliffordsmon

    Cliffordsmon New Member

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    I gave up along time ago using the Mears buses. Whether is is DME or Mears you still have to wait for the bus and all the added stops between the airport and hotels. I don't care if it is free, my time is worth something and the extra hour to hour 1/2 is not worth the wait.



    Different values, different lifestyle.
     
  7. wannab@dis

    wannab@dis Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    That's exactly how I see it also. First, they complained that the "greeters" shouldn't have access to the 3rd floor. That was their big peeve. Then the airport changed the policy and kicked DME off the 3rd floor. (I didn't understand that move since most people would already have booked DME and if not, were ENTITLED to book it if they were staying at a Disney resort.)

    Now, they are after another concession. It appears to me that they are playing this up for sympathy for their cause. They are trying to make Disney out to be this corporate monster that is taking the food off their table. The truth is they built their business off Disney, so they shouldn't whine when Disney decides to give their customers a 'perk'. I think this endevour will backfire on the livery group and I honestly hope that Disney extends the free period because of the bickering.

    Granted, I won't be using DME on my next trip. We need a grocery stop to get the basics such as Milk, drinks and water. We'll also probably get diapers/wipes/swimmers/etc for the week since they take up quite a bit of room. We're still debating on a town car or a rental.
     
  8. Scooter

    Scooter Well-Known Member

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    In the past, my family has always hired a Towncar service.
    On our October trip we are taking the Magical Express Bus.
    Free versus $110 plus tip...it's a no brainer.

    We never rent a car when we go to WDW because on the 2 occasions we did, it just sat in the parking lot of our resort. Disneys transportation system is all we need and it's the best.

    I do feel sorry for the taxi drivers and the Towncar services. Disney is trying to run them out of business so they can start charging hefty fees for The Magical Express service.

    With gas prices as high as they are, Disney has got to be taking a beating for all this free service, but it'll be worth it to them if they end up with a monopoly on transporting people to and from the airport.
     
  9. wannab@dis

    wannab@dis Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Why do you think they are trying to run other companies out of business? It makes no sense whatsoever! They are offering a PERK to get more people to stay on property. They've always said that the perk will end at the close of the HCOE. If they extend it, they have that right. If not, then the market will continue to operate on a cost/service basis. If they charge more than the market will allow, someone else will step up and take up the slack.

    Further, I doubt that Disney has to worry about the gas prices. DME is contracted with Mears and apparantly they pay per passenger. It's doubtful that the contract has a variable cost basis due to fuel charges.
     
  10. Nemo14

    Nemo14 Well-Known Member

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    Personally, we always rent a car when we go, after trying Mears twice. I know that DME has a much better reputation, but my DH prefers to do all the driving.
     
  11. Scooter

    Scooter Well-Known Member

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    If you have read any of the articles on this story it makes perfect sense. :brick:

    Why do you think the taxi drivers and Limo services are complaining?
    HELLOOOOOOOOO!!!

    They are losing business...and where I come from losing business means losing money..and losing money eventually means being out of business.
    :rolleyes:
     
  12. wannab@dis

    wannab@dis Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    I have read the articles and I don't agree! How does it equate to "Disney is trying to run them out of business so they can start charging hefty fees for The Magical Express service"?

    If a company has built their business plan around Disney customers, then they shouldn't be surprised that it doesn't work forever. The ones that are competing on service and have not singled out Disney resorts as their primary market will continue to be in business.
     
  13. Shaman

    Shaman Well-Known Member

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    I agree...:D

    Besides not everyone is interested in DME....
     
  14. Thrawn

    Thrawn Account Suspended

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    I know exactly what will happen. DME will stay free after the 18 month trial.
     
  15. bigkidz895

    bigkidz895 Member

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    Wow... bad timing for Mear's to raise rates. I disagree, big-time! With the extradorinarily high fuel costs of late and state and government trying to ease the pains of the costs, Mear's does this?? I personally feel that Mear's could have waited until after the holiday season or even next year to raise rates!
     
  16. bgraham34

    bgraham34 Well-Known Member

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    Not everyone is going to use the Disney Service. What the taxis need to do is advertise they with taxi's or towncars you get personalized service.
     
  17. Shaman

    Shaman Well-Known Member

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    That would be interesting to watch....:lol:
     
  18. mkt

    mkt Awesome

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    Rob's opinion?

    Mears has **** service, and will never get a cent from me... and if I were a tourist, I wouldn't use DME on the sole fact that it is operated by Mears. No thanks. In my job now that I have entertain corporate VIP's and clients, when they ask how to get from the airport to their hotel, I tell them use Quicksilver or anyone OTHER than Mears. I am not about to lose business because I made a bad recommendation.
     
  19. PhilharMagician

    PhilharMagician Well-Known Member

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    We go with the towncar. The charge for a rental car is just way to much. Then we also save more than we pay for the towncar with our grocery stop (lots of water, snacks, breakfast food, a bottle or 2 of wine). Another great thing is when you come down the escalator to the baggage claim area there is the driver with a board with your name on it. No worries from here till they drop us off to go home. To us it is a no brainer. A luxury trip with no added cost.
    I will say that we have not even tried DME, but have been on Mears busses in the past and we were not pleased. You feel like you are in a cattle car kind of like the airplane ride you were just thankful to get off of.
     
  20. Shaman

    Shaman Well-Known Member

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    Which is exactly why these people shouldn't complain....I mean true, the other services can't easily compete with free DME...but eventually...the playing field will even out...either Disney will charge for the service...or people will be turned off by the service (for whatever the reason...and I'm sure there will be many).
     

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