Older Taxis Now Allowed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport

Taxis less than 10 years old are now allowed to serve passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. (Screenshot)

A new city ordinance allows taxis picking up passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to be up to 10 years old.

The ordinance, adopted by the Atlanta City Council at its June 3 meeting, replaces the seven-year age limit for taxis serving the world’s busiest airport.

Taxi drivers have pleaded for the taxi age limit to be changed because it is too expensive to buy a new car every seven years. They said extending vehicle use to 10 years would give them time to finance a new car while still working as taxi drivers and supporting their families.

“We can buy a five-year-old car and at least be sure of having it for five years,” Tony Igbere said of changing the age limit for taxis. “Our cars have become stronger these days, but they are expensive.”

“We promise that we will continue to work to improve our industry, to do whatever it takes to make our visitors feel comfortable, especially at the airport, which is the only remnant of the taxi industry “Igbere said.

City councilor Alex Wan was the only “no” vote and said the timing was a problem for him as the city prepares for the 2026 World Cup.

“We start talking about 2026, the World Cup and all the investments we are making in the city, but at the airport – where for most people it will be their first entry into this city – we are now relaxing that which could be one of their first experiences in the city.

“It’s a bell that you can’t unlock once it rings,” Wan said.

An earlier version of the order proposed deregulating the taxi industry in several ways, such as repealing certain requirements for taxi meters and taxi color. Taxi drivers strongly opposed the proposals, but organized to pressure the council to permanently allow older taxis.

Councilman Byron Amos, sponsor of the bill, said it took several months and conversations with taxi drivers, taxi companies, city and airport officials to reach an agreement .

“Originally you could only have a car for seven years in service and anyone who’s ever bought a new car, you know, that’s the average loan on your car. So you’re really working to pay for a car,” Amos said in a statement after the meeting.

“Now that we’ve increased that to 10 years, you have at least a few more years to be able to work and that money, instead of going into a car, is now going to take your family, feed them, allow them to go to school,” he said.

The age limit for taxis was 10 years old until 2017. That year, the council required taxis to be no older than seven while implementing regulations for Uber and Lyft pickups at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

In 2020, the council passed a temporary waiver allowing taxis less than 10 years old to pick up passengers at the airport due to difficulties drivers faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The exemption was extended in 2022 to expire in 2024.

Last year, the council voted to increase taxi fares.