A six-year contract that gave Sudbury Cab the exclusive right to line up outside the Sudbury Airport and serve passengers as they come off their flights has expired.
That means any cab company in the city can now pick up passengers at the airport, Fly Sudbury spokesperson Hailey Short said.
"Right now, any other taxi can also come to the airport and pick people up as well," Short said this week. “But we are encouraging people to pre-arrange.”
Under the previous contract, any cab company could take people to the airport, but only Sudbury Cab had what's known as 'queueing rights' – the right to wait outside the terminal to pick people up as they got off the plane. Other companies could only pick them up if the passenger them called ahead of time to book a ride.
An interim contract has been signed with another company to ensure there are taxis at the airport, Short said, and it will run until a new contract is awarded.
"We have worked out an agreement with another company in the interim,” Short said. “So with them it's guaranteed there will be taxis available for people who are getting off the plane right away, similar to what Sudbury Cab was offering."
In an interview last month, Jean-Mathieu Chenier, director of marketing and airport development at Fly Sudbury, said a surge in passenger traffic this year and last has made getting a cab harder under the exclusive rules in the previous contract.
There was an 18 per cent growth in passenger numbers in 2017, and about 15 per cent increase so far in 2018, prompting a review of the way cab companies do business at the airport.
"It's a good problem to have, but it also poses additional stresses to our service infrastructure," Chenier said. "That is something we're looking to address (in the next contract)."
The problem, he said, is that smaller regional airports such as Sudbury's have a harder time forecasting how many passengers on a flight will want a taxi once they land.
“Will it be two or 20 people today?” Chenier said. "That's a challenge common to airports our size ... It's not like Pearson (in Toronto) or Calgary or Vancouver -- we don't have 100 cabs lined up waiting to pick people up."
Short said the RFP for the next airport contract will be ready “within the next few months.”