Taxi fares from airport may increase by $2 per trip

Airport Taxi and two other taxi companies are using brand new vehicles, like this one, to transport passengers to and from Richmond International Airport.
It may soon cost a little more to grab a taxi from Richmond International Airport, but airport officials believe the extra fee will be worth it.

The Capital Region Airport Commission is asking Henrico and three other localities in the region to approve an additional $2 fee for taxi service that originates at the airport. Henrico's Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Oct. 23 to consider a change to its county code that would permit the fee.

Earlier this year, CRAC officials created new, stricter standards for walk-up taxi service at the airport and invited bids from taxi companies willing to meet them. Officials selected the proposals of three companies – Airport Taxi, Galaxy Cab and Richmond Flyer Taxi, which as of July 1 are the only three permitted to transport walk-up passengers. (Other taxi companies can pick up passengers on a pre-arranged basis only.)

The new standards required that each of the three companies:

• use only vehicles that are new as of this year;

• provide uniformed drivers who speak English as a second language, at a minimum, and who have completed a mandatory training program

• accept credit cards.

Each of the three companies is required to pay a $2-per-trip fee to CRAC for the right to provide pick-up service. Companies that provide pre-arranged service pay a $2.60 fee per trip to CRAC.

Because each of the three walk-up service companies invested heavily in order to meet the new standards, allowing them to recoup that $2 fee from passengers would help defray their costs, airport President and CEO Jon Mathiasen told the Henrico Board of Supervisors Sept. 25.

"We're trying to improve the overall appearance of ground transportation at Richmond International Airport," he said. "It is the front door and the last door that many visitors see [of Greater Richmond]."

The new standards make the airport one of few in the nation to offer an entire fleet of brand new vehicles (41 in total, including 5 that are fitted for disabled passengers), Mathiasen said. Each vehicle makes an average of 15 trips per day, Mathiasen said.

Taxi fares from the airport last increased five years ago this month.

Three Chopt District Supervisor Dave Kaechele said he had noticed a difference since the new standards took effect.

"The improvement is dramatic out there," he said. "It's very professional. I think it's got to make a big impression on visitors."

The airport is investing several hundred thousand dollars on a new queuing system that will help taxis conserve gas while they wait for passengers, Mathiasen said. It should be active within about two months.
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Democrat VanValkenburg kicks off Gen. Assembly campaign


Senior students at Glen Allen High School will get a personal touch when studying elections with their AP government teacher.

That teacher, Schuyler VanValkenburg, recently announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 72nd District seat in the House of Delegates. If he earns the nomination, he will run against Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico, who has been unopposed for 10 years.

VanValkenburg, a 2004 University of Richmond alumnus who majored in history, is running for office for the first time. Although he has lived in Richmond since he began his undergraduate studies, aside from one year spent in Seattle, he said he never felt it was his time to run. > Read more.

Construction begins on JA Finance Park at Libbie Mill


School and business leaders from around the region, including (pictured, from left) Simon Hodges of Dominion Resources, Daphne Swanso(president of Junior Achievement of Central Virginia) and Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas, gathered at Libbie Mill Library Feb. 23 for the Junior Achievement Finance Park construction kickoff. > Read more.

Assembly poised to OK state budget on Friday


Finishing a day early, House and Senate negotiators agreed on a budget Wednesday that includes employee pay raises and more money for K-12 education and mental health.

The negotiators presented their budget to their fellow lawmakers in time for the required 48-hour review, which could be completed by Friday night with a chance to adjourn their 2017 session before Saturday’s target date.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate praised the spending plan’s conservative fiscal policies. > Read more.

Section of Charles City Road to close beginning Feb. 26


A section of Charles City Road, from Lewis Road to South Airport Drive, will be closed beginning Sunday, Feb. 26 as part of a project to widen and improve the road.

The Henrico County Department of Public Works expects the closure to last for a few weeks.

Westbound traffic on Charles City will be detoured around the work zone by way of South Airport, Seven Hills Boulevard and Laburnum Avenue. > Read more.

ACLU urges McAuliffe to veto anti-immigration bills


Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union called on Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday to veto Republican-backed legislation banning local governments in Virginia from designating themselves as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. They also said they plan to fight federal and state policies that they believe violate immigrants’ rights.

At a news conference, representatives of the ACLU of Virginia and other civil rights organizations criticized anti-immigrant measures passed by the General Assembly. They also condemned the recent spike in deportation raids on immigrant communities in Virginia by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as President Donald Trump’s recent executive order banning immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries. > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Shepherd’s Center concludes its Open University four-week winter lecture series “Lunch and Life” at 12:30 p.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church, 9505 Gayton Rd. Charles Bryan, historian and former CEO at Virginia Historical Society, will present "Our Restless Species: How We Came to Occupy the Globe.” A brown bag lunch precedes at noon with dessert and beverages provided. The series is open to all persons 50+ at no charge. For details, call 355-7282 or visit http://www.tscor.org. Full text

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