SuperShuttle shutdown in Atlanta comes as travelers change habits, say hotel managers

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Passengers load their luggage into an Uber driver's car at the designated rideshare area at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport , Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, in Atlanta. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

With airport shuttle company SuperShuttle abruptly shutting down its operations in Atlanta this week, downtown Atlanta hotel managers say they liked having the service as an option, but the way travelers get around the city is changing.

“If this was five years ago, I believe that our industry would have a lot more anxiety about not having that type of [shuttle] service available,” said Peter McMahon, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. “But as technology has changed and the traveling public has become more accustomed to alternative transportation with third parties such as Uber and Lyft… I don’t think it’s going to be a real long-term liability for the traveler.”

Hotels in the central business district of Atlanta had long depended on shared-ride shuttles as one of the options for customers to get to and from the airport, for a price that was less than taxis.

“SuperShuttle was recognizable all over the country. That’s why it was great for us to have in Atlanta, too,” said Erica Qualls-Battey, general manager of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta. “Atlanta is a city that thrives on convention business, and we want to make sure that conventioneers have every option of mode of transportation available to them.”

But lower-priced Uber and Lyft rides have transformed the ground transportation industry, giving more options to travelers and disrupting the business models of competitors including taxis and shuttle services.

“Uber and Lyft is such a way of life for travelers now,” McMahon said. “It was really inevitable that the [shuttle] platform was probably unsustainable.”

To read more about how hotel guests might be affected and why one Atlanta city council member is now saying, “I told you so” about the SuperShuttle contract, get the full story on MyAJC.com.

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