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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.
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

New Henrico biscuit shop thrives with grandmother’s recipe

Tim Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.

Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.

The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.

“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces cast of Sherlock Holmes play

CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run from Oct. 24-Nov. 8. Adapted by Steven Dietz, it is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.

The plot follows what seems to be the end of the career of the world’s greatest detective as he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer Irene Adler, Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. As Holmes says, “The game is afoot Watson, and it is a dangerous one!” > Read more.

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