You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

SuperShuttle pulling out of Atlanta


After facing stiff competition from ride-share services Uber and Lyft, airport shuttle operator SuperShuttle is pulling out of Atlanta.

The last day of SuperShuttle operations in Atlanta is Feb. 28. The company, which operates in more than 40 airports using its hallmark blue vans, lasted just over two years in Atlanta after launching services in November 2014.

“Essentially, there just wasn’t enough business,” said Dave Bird, president of SuperShuttle International. “We just thought it was going to be an unprofitable and undesirable situation.”

The shared-ride shuttle contract from downtown, Midtown and Buckhead to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was troubled for years before SuperShuttle arrived. A previous operator of the central business district airport shuttles shut down, then the interim operator faced criticism of political cronyism. Later, a shuttle crash involving a new operator led the airport to rebid the contract.

SuperShuttle ended up winning the contract, launching with fares of $16.50 for a shared-ride van from downtown, $18.50 from Midtown and $20.50 from Buckhead to the airport. It brought with it the promise of a brand known across the country and a more sophisticated booking system to make the shuttle service work.

But that apparently wasn’t enough to make the contract viable.

“We brought a national presence to the game and weren’t able to get enough critical mass,” Bird said. “The airport transportation landscape is changing pretty rapidly these days.” SuperShuttle has cut service in some other cities, including in Colorado, according to news reports.

The company had asked for concessions from airport officials. But the airport declined to grant those requests.

One request SuperShuttle made, which was denied, was to reduce the fees it pays to the airport annually.

SuperShuttle had submitted a bid of $455,000 for Hartsfield-Jackson’s shared-ride shuttle contract. That was about three times the minimum bid and $184,000 more than the second-highest bid.

A SuperShuttle executive said at the time that the company could operate profitable with its bid amount, because it typically charges 50 percent or 60 percent the cost of a cab fare.

Atlanta city council member C.T. Martin, who now chairs the transportation committee, warned at the time that the shared-ride shuttle contract is “not a profit-making scenario,” targeting the market in between the convenience of cabs or limos and the affordability of MARTA at $2.50 a ride. And with new competition from mobile app-driven ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, “it’s going to be even worse,” Martin said. That could prompt the winning bidder to raise concerns about contract terms down the road, he predicted then.

Uber X charges less than cabs, and has a lower-priced uberPOOL shared-ride option.

Miguel Southwell, then the manager of Hartsfield-Jackson, was optimistic back then. “Shared-ride shuttles operate profitably across the country,” he said at the time.

Another request SuperShuttle made of the airport was to expand its service area to the rest of metro Atlanta beyond downtown, Midtown and Buckhead.

When SuperShuttle launched, “the local shared-ride shuttle services wanted assurances from the airport that SuperShuttle would only operate in the central business district,” said Hartsfield-Jackson spokesman Reese McCranie. “We kept our word and did not grant SuperShuttle the ability to expand beyond the central business district.”

The airport does not plan to seek a replacement operator for the central business district shared-ride shuttle airport contract, McCranie said. Instead, the licensed operators of local shared-ride shuttles in the rest of metro Atlanta will pick up the central business district service area, he said.

SuperShuttle said it has found alternative transportation for customers who had bookings beyond Feb. 28.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

How Delta aims to make boarding more bearable
How Delta aims to make boarding more bearable

One of the thorniest issues for any airline is how to get people onto planes in a quick and orderly way while also giving privileged status to those who spend the most. It doesn’t help that flights on popular routes are often full these days, or that many passengers are schlepping carry-ons built to maximum dimensions. The tension between crowd-handling...
Report: Vogtle contractor headed for Chapter 11
Report: Vogtle contractor headed for Chapter 11

A major contractor on Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion is expected to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of this month, adding new complications to the already delayed project, according to a report Friday. Reuters reported that Japanese conglomerate Toshiba has told lenders that its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse...
Delta to restart Atlanta-Brussels flights, one year after terrorist attacks
Delta to restart Atlanta-Brussels flights, one year after terrorist attacks

Delta Air Lines is restarting its flights from Atlanta to Brussels, one year after the terrorist attacks in Brussels that included bombing at the airport. Atlanta-based Delta had stopped flying the Atlanta-Brussels route after the attacks in March 2016. It resumed its New York-Brussels flights in April 2016 and in June began selling tickets ...
Atlanta airport hotel project gets FAA approval
Atlanta airport hotel project gets FAA approval

A proposed InterContinental hotel at Hartsfield-Jackson International has gained clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration, which concluded it will not interfere with radar or airspace safety at the world’s busiest airport. FAA approval was a key hurdle to overcome for the hotel project, which has been in the works for the past...
Wes Moss: When will the next recession hit?
Wes Moss: When will the next recession hit?

OK, so I’m going to talk about the dreaded R-word — recession. Is one lurking around the corner for our nation’s economy? Should hardworking Americans be concerned about their livelihood? Their investments? The short answer is, probably not right now. But the question does merit a look at the numbers. Right now, inflation is in check...
More Stories