Local News in Brief : Airport Shuttle Sues

The largest shuttle bus operator at Los Angeles International Airport has gone to court to thwart alleged unfair business practices by an upstart competitor.

Supershuttle of Los Angeles Inc., with a fleet of 200 blue and gold vans, alleges that American Transportation Enterprises Inc., which operates only five vans, has stolen customers by mimicking Supershuttle's color scheme and invading its state-designated service area.

The Torrance Superior Court suit demands that American repaint its Amtrans Airport Shuttle vans and keep them out of Supershuttle's service areas in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

A spokesman for the smaller company complained that Supershuttle is trying to crush Gardena-based Amtrans before it can get started. Amtrans lawyer Steve Neimand said the firm's vans don't look anything like Supershuttle's and that incursions into the giant's operating turf were unintentional.

Supershuttle serves 180,000 customers a month in Southern California, making it the leader among the 20 firms that operate locally. Amtrans entered the market just three weeks ago.

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