City Council approves carpooling services and courtesy vehicles at PI airport

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Presque Isle councilors unanimously approved on Wednesday evening two different measures that will allow more vehicle services at Presque Isle International Airport.

NEAR ISLE, Maine – Presque Isle councilors unanimously approved on Wednesday evening two different measures that will allow more vehicle services at Presque Isle International Airport.

Airport manager Scott Wardwell began by briefing advisers on ‘ride-sharing services’ such as Uber and Lyft that operated at the airport before the COVID-19 pandemic.

When these services first became available, Wardwell said, the airport did not officially announce any regulations, choosing to see if the market for these services grew in Presque Isle.

“These services actually increased during the pandemic,” Wardwell said during the meeting at the Sargent Family Community Center.

Unlike traditional taxis, passengers request Uber or Lyft vehicles through an app on their smartphones. Although airports in Maine could not regulate ridesharing services at Uber’s debut, a more recent state law allows airports with at least 20,000 passengers per year to have limited regulations.

Wardwell said that while Presque Isle International Airport does not have this number of annual boardings, any rules they create for the call can still fall under the previous law, as long as the city does not enforce. not the regulations.

Under the proposed rules, ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft will not be allowed to park in parking spaces designated for taxis, courtesy vehicles or rental cars and will instead be allowed to park. in the public parking lot. Carpool vehicles must immediately assist passengers with unloading in the sidewalk area near the terminal, but not wait at the curb for flights to arrive.

To reduce traffic in the airport terminal and not remove taxi and rental car services, taxi drivers will not be allowed in the terminal to solicit passengers, which could include behaviors such as yelling , hold up signs or call destinations.

The advisers also approved an agreement between the airport and the Presque Isle Inn & Convention Center for a courtesy vehicle service, which will bring hotel guests to the airport and upon their return.

Ahead of the vote, Clint Deschene, director of community innovation for Ignite PI, the nonprofit that operates the Northeastland hotel, urged councilors to consider passing a courtesy vehicle ordinance at the city-wide rather than signing an individual agreement.

“I encourage the city to extend this opportunity to all hotels in the city and to engage in an open dialogue [with hotel owners]”said Deschêne.

Board chairman Kevin Freeman clarified that while the agreement specified the Presque Isle Inn & Convention Center, the board’s vote is intended to potentially work with other hotels that wish to offer courtesy vehicle services.

“I had understood that the Convention Center would present this idea to other hotel owners to come up with something together,” Freeman said.

In other cases, City Manager Martin Puckett gave councilors an update on town hall. Engineers and contractors on the 8-month project, which began in May, have installed new windows, LED lights, heat pumps and flooring inside the first-floor offices and started work. similar to the second floor.

When complete, the lobby will feature a wheelchair accessible public bathroom and three private voting booths, none of which were in the original Town Hall design.

Although the project is three to four weeks behind schedule due to the late arrival of some materials, contractors are planning a full transition to work on the second floor in the near future, Freeman noted.

“Once we have a [wheelchair accessible] ramp for the main entrance, we will be able to open it to the public, ”Freeman said.

The next City Council meeting will be Wednesday September 29 at the Sargent Family Community Center.


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