Proposal puts SFO shuttles in jeopardy

December 30, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
"I came to this country in search of the American dream," Majed Dajani told ABC7.

Dajani is a Palestinian immigrant who started as a shuttle van driver. He now owns Quake City Shuttle which carries passengers to and from San Francisco International Airport.

"I came to the United States fourteen years ago with my pregnant wife barely speaking English with $20 in my pocket," recalled Igor Bronshteyn.

Bronshteyn emigrated from Jerusalem. He too drove a van then started his own airport service, the Bay Shuttle.

Currently the airport allows 11 shuttle van companies to pick up passengers at random at SFO. The new proposal would limit the number to only four companies.

Dajani and Bronshteyn currently own two of the eleven permits. The owners, their drivers and their families say the Airport Commission's new proposal will drive them and other small and medium-sized airport shuttle companies out of business.

They figure about 300 people, mostly immigrants, will be out of work.

"At the heart of the airport's administrative plan are economic, justice and civil rights issues," says Veena Dubal with the Asian Law Caucus.

The small van operators say they do not have the money and political power to compete for the four permits against international conglomerates like Super Shuttle and other big companies.

But airport spokesman Mike McCarron points out that if the plan goes through, only curbside service would require a permit, not rides that are pre-arranged.

"If you call Joe's Shuttle Service to pick you up here or drop you off, they can still operate here," says McCarron.

Still, small shuttle operators say the curbside service is a big part of their business.

"Most likely we will close our doors within four months after the proposal goes through."

Super Shuttle told ABC7 it is too premature to comment. The Airport Commission is expected to vote on the proposal in February.


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