Tourmobile, Au Revoir, For Reals: Service Ending October 31
We knew this was happening, in the wake of revelations about Tourmobile's illegally extended contract, but now we have a date: The company held a meeting with its employees on September 1 telling them that the last day of service would be on October 31.
UPDATE, Monday, 7:45 a.m. - For anyone reading this later, a further thought: The timing of this announcement is actually somewhat odd. Tourmobile's contract and ensuing extensions ran between January 1 and December 31 of each year. If they had figured the company had a right to the rest of the contract for this year, I can't think of a reason why they'd force the company to cease operations two months early.
Additionally, since no further solicitation has been issued, this leaves the Mall without a sanctioned tour operator for the foreseeable future—they'll have to issue a new solicitation, vet the bids that come in, and award a concession, all of which takes time. So much for a smooth transition.
Finally, the news came only days after the release of the Park Service's new guiding document, "A Call to Action," which lays out an impressive vision of creativity, innovation, flexibility, and partnerships with non-profit groups and local government. Perhaps the Park Service found that the continued operation of Tourmobile didn't quite square with that philosophy.
The termination letter is below.