DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines International Airport officials are pushing to limit the number of taxi companies permitted to pick up travelers.

The move follows an increase in customer complaints over taxi service, the Des Moines Register reported .

The city deregulated the taxi industry last December and there are now 20 operators registered to serve the airport. Only five were registered in 2015, said Kevin Foley, the airport’s executive director.

“I think it’s gotten out of control lately,” said Liz Ward, an Airport Authority Board member. “I feel like every week it’s getting worse and worse.”

Taxi operators have been violating airport rules by having too few drivers, driving damaged vehicles, charging minimum trip fees, failing to post fee lists and only accepting cash payments, Foley said.

Registering with the airport requires that cabs pay a fee to use the terminal lane. Some companies are bypassing the registration system, he said.

Foley wants to restrict the number of taxi companies registered for airport pickups to two. He said a limit would allow airport officials to respond quickly to issues and would protect riders from unfair fees and unsafe vehicles.

“It’s a problem we have to cure,” said board member Mark Feldmann. “We are not meeting the reasonable expectations of travelers coming to Des Moines.”

Airport officials plan to request applications in December from companies that want to pick up passengers at the airport.

Companies must have a certain number of taxis to qualify, though the number has not yet been determined.

Small taxi businesses are encouraged to consolidate into a large group and apply, Foley said.

Operators could see new rules to airport service as early as February.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com