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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

Film industry training program planned for this weekend

The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), in partnership with the Virginia Film Office, will offer "Get Your Start in the Film Industry," a two-day seminar designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. The course will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road in Henrico, on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

The training will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished assistant director for film and television projects, which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. > Read more.

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

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