Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The Okaloosa Regional Airport is finally making an effort to clean-up its' act. The re-write for county ordidance 77-11 is better than nothing but still full of loop-holes and half-ass attempts to cover their own ass. Sorry, for the rude interduction but, good lord this re-write will not fly as is . For example,Article 7 Disqualifications it states "the following list of items will disqualify any driver or employee from operating ground trans portation vehicle at the airport... murder, or attempted murder... arrest... Ricco Act..." come on now, lets get the owners of these companies into this ,too. Do we want to give the owners permission to do what ever they want and make the drivers the fall guy? The introduction of schedule A in regard to fees raises the annual fee from $300.00 to $400.00 for airport shuttles but proposes a fee of only $150.00 for courtesy vehicles. A courtesy vehicle is defined in Article 1 definitions as ... vehicles shall be owned by the off-airport business and operated by employees of the off-airport business. As is this would allow, for example, Sandestin Beach and Golf Resort to permit their trams for a fraction of the cost of a regular shuttle and pick-up at will. THIS IS CLEARLY FAVORTISM TOWARD A SINGLE BUSINESS ENTITY! I do believe this is illegal. Is it not?There are other conflicts within the propose re-write as well. Article 8 pertaing to advertisement on vehicles states companies may pursue advertising on vehicles. Advertisement must be from reputable businesses...However, Article 13 prohibited activities 13.11 Solicitation, advertising or similar activities are prohibited. There are many other examples within this document but to numerous to list here. I would encourage anyone interested in this matter to contact Mr. David Miner (airport administation) or Mr. Sealy (airport director) at 850-651-7160. Let them know your interested and watching. I know I am.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Under airport transportation located in Destin, Fl. at the web-site www.emeraldcoast.com you will find a listing for Resort Connection and Bahama Babbitt's Beachside Limo & Airport Shuttle . The phone numbers and the address are both the same. This is the same person. He has only two vehicles a lincoln towncar and a fifteen passenger van with the name Aloha Limo and Beachside Limo respectively on them. He parades as several different names and will book you for a pick-up but will not be there for you if a higher dollar pick-up becomes available. He will pass you to any one of the dozens or so other drivers out of the Q-line at Okaloosa Regional Airport. He essentially operates a pyramid scheme that allows him the most profitable runs while maintaining the illusion of a big company. The Okaloosa Regional Airport is currently doing a re-write of the 77-11 an ordinance that is suppose to be the bible for the transportation companies operating out of this airport. It is up for review March 21, 2007 and is tentatively scheduled to go into affect Aprill 15, 2007. Hopefully, this will cure may of the demands operating out of Okaloosa Regional Airport. More about this proposal next time so, for now save traveling and best wishes.
If you go to the link www.magicyellow.com and search the keywords airport transportation service and list the city of Pensacola Fl. and scroll down to the courtesy listings for airport transportation service you will find listings for Bob's Airport Shuttle & Taxi and Airport Shuttle Destin-Santa. Both of these businesses have the same address of 9950 Emerald Coast Pkwy. W. #6 but have different phone numbers. This address is property owned by a church occording to the property appraisers office of okaloosa county florida. The 850-837-0888 is the number displayed on their vehicle for a business listed with the okaloosa regional airport that is permitted by them to pick-up and discharge customers at this airport. However, if you look at the number listed for this business with the airport it is not the same as the number listed on their vehicle. It is the 850-837-0888 number. If you were to call this number the person answering the phone will simply say airport shutle david speaking. He would further say that he will have one of his drivers there to pick you up. This company has only one vehicle and one driver. But when the vehicle arrives it will not have the business name attached to the phone number you called but could be any name of a dozen or more shuttles operating at the Okaloosa Regional Airport. Many of which have criminal records such as registered sex offender, aggravated stalking, domestic violence, grand theft and D.U.I. convictions. If this isn't enough to curl your hair I don't know what is. There are many other web-sites that have these bogus business listings that lead back to the same people. Take a look at www.emeraldcoast.com and you will see a whole list of taxis and airport transportation listing. So, how will I know the real from the imposters? One obvious clue is to look at the bisiness name, location and phone number. If all three doesn't match up it's probably bogus. If the phone number and/or address are the same but the name is different then you'll probably looking at a bogus business that is going to rob you blind! However, this isn't a fool-proof way of determining the good from the bad but it certainly will reduce the potential of getting scammed.
As promised in the blog entitled Q-line scam here is the first of supporting documents that suggest a scam of fraud and misleading marketing is occurring. If you log onto www.local.nwfdailynews.com and search the location of Fort Walton Beach, FL. you should be able to find a list of the available taxi and/or airport transportation. The ones of particular interest are Black &Gold Taxi, Yellow Cab Company, Gator Taxi, Elite Cab Service, Buck's Shuttle Service, Dave's Bayside Airport Shuttle & Taxi and Bulldog Express Shuttle. All of these companies claim to be located, according to the map link, on the corner of Green Street and Bob Sikes Blvd. in Ft. Walton Beach. This is not true. If a physical inspection of this area is done all you will find at this location is vacant lots that are over-grown with vegetation and a run-down trailer and a old cylinder-block house sitting on them. What is going on here except fraud? If you look close at the phone numbers Black&Gold Taxi, Gator Taxi, and Elite Cab Service all have the same phone number listed. If they are the same, Why would a legitimate operation have three different buisness names listed at an obviously bogus location? A simple search at the property appaisers web site for Okaloosa county Florida will show us the current owner of the property in question. How about it law enforcement?
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
The scam basically works like this. The same people are always in the Q-line. When they go around on a light they quote inflatted rates. If you do not ask you'll find out later when they threaten to call the law for not paying the fare. If you do ask and refuse to ride with them they go back to the front of the line in the Q. They tell the next driver in line what they quoted you and your destination. If that driver comes around again he may take someone else or you decide to pay the fare. Meanwhile there are some that advertise in the phonebook, internet, etc. These people usually have only one or two vehicles. They often advertise under several different names presenting the illusion that you are choosing from several different companies.They stay as busy as they want to be and when they don't want or can not take you they call someone out of the Q to pick you up. The same ones that quoted you an inflated rate will now take you for a somewhat more reasonable rate. In reality what they are doing is price-fixing. Creating an ever increasing rate that is not truely justified. Also, the conditions at the airport creates the illusion that you are provided with a choice. This choice is to use the supposed fifty shuttle companys available to you or take a rental car or call someone else to come get you. The airport police will get on to you if you linger around the terminal for to long. The reality is if you are an experienced traveler to the area you have a choice if not you are a potential victim to be. I will provide actual examples of their marketing scam to you in another posting at a later date. Until then be cautious about traveling thru the Okaloosa Regional Airport.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
The photo up top shows the absence of any taxis on the curb at Okaloosa Regional Airport. The photo in the center is the coloumn with the button and the photo on the bottom is the back of the sign barely visible in the posting of " Look Mom No Signs!". The writing on the button sign on the coloumn basiclly instructs you to push the button ounce and your taxi will arrive within 3-4 minutes. What is going on here? The administration may tell you it is part of security since 9/11 and is part of the FAA and TSA new guidelines on the war against terrorism. OK! Let's imagine this statement is true. Then ask yourself how is the abscence of adequate signage and the lack of direction going to protect us from the confusion created? How am I going to get to my final destination unless I utilize the most obvious means available? I wonder what that could be?
This is what you will see upon arrival at the Okaloosa Regional Airport also known as VPS, Eglin A.F.B. airport, the valparaiso airport along with the Ft. Walton Beach Airport. The most resent name and the one found outside of the terminal is Okaloosa Regional Airport. This is a relative new terminal that has been in operation for approximately two years. Yet, if you look closely it is the most user unfriendly airport I have ever seen. There are abundant signs for rental cars and the baggage claim area is clearly marked, but if you are in need of a randomly selected taxi for your ground transportation needs you'll have to really strain a brain cell to find one. There are no taxis on the curb here! There isn't even noticeable signs posted to direct you to the button located outside the terminal on one of the columns.If you look closely at the photogragh in the center is a hallway. To the left of the hallway is a small a-frame with a blue square on it. This is the only sign within the terminal that directs you to the button on the column. Obviously, at least to me, this is totally unacceptable especially when the terminal is full of people standing in front of the sign. Check back again and I will show you the button out front as well as the absence of the ground transportation.