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Taxis at Denver International Airport: Officials say cab-shortage experience doesn't add up

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Last Saturday, a DIA cab porter told me that as of 11:30 p.m., the airport was essentially out of cabs and that me and my family would have to consider other options, such as renting a car or spending the night in the concourse. But according to DIA Media Relations Director Jenny Schiavone, the story doesn't add up. She says records show there were lots of cabs in the area all night, and that DIA officials would never refuse cab service.

In response to my tale of post-vacation woe, Schiavone did some admirable, CSI-level sleuthing and came back with what she says are the cold, hard facts of DIA's taxi situation on that evening. While she does note that Saturday nights are typically the slowest time for the airport, with just ten flights on average arriving between 11 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 a.m. Sunday, she says that just means taxi numbers thin out at those times -- but they don't drop down to zero. In fact, Schiavone says that according to airport records, there were apparently lots of cabs around waiting to be at my service:

  • On Saturday, June 4, there were six cabs on level 5 of the terminal between 11:15 and 11:45 p.m. (the time you were leaving the airport), and another five cabs in the holding lot during the same time period (holding lot is three or four minutes from the terminal).
  • Our logs for early Sunday morning (June 5) show that 32 cabs were in the area between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., so cab service to/from the airport definitely does not stop overnight.
  • Our ground transportation contractor checked their logs for late night June 4 and early morning June 5 and show no issues with the number of cabs in the area, and no problems with getting cabs to the area.

Most importantly, says Schiavone, DIA's ground transportation contractor "stressed that they'd never refuse cab service for anyone, no matter the time of day." As for the fact that the porter suggested folks had been forced to spend the night in the concourse and get a cab the next morning? According to Schiavone, "That's probably the most ridiculous allegation out of everything you were told."

In other words, my experience with late-night taxis at DIA seems to have taken a direct flight right into the Twilight Zone. After all, the taxi porter, who was sincerely apologetic about the whole thing and did not in any way seem to be pulling my leg, suggested the supposed taxi shortage wasn't a one-time thing but happened on Saturday nights all the time. Plus, the driver of the taxi he was finally able to procure for us seemed to concur with the porter, as did another DIA employee who came by and chatted with the porter for a bit.

So who's a guy to believe? The folks at the DIA taxi stand, or DIA officials? Maybe its best to throw it out to you, loyal readers: Have any of you had experiences with Saturday-night taxis at DIA? Are there plenty to go around -- or is my experience all too common?

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Michael Hancock donations from Metro Taxi payback for opposing Mile High Cab?" Follow Joel Warner on Twitter @joelmwarner

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