BLOG BREAK: LCT BLOG will post content again on Tuesday, June 1, including a preview of the June/July issue. LCT wishes you a pleasant and safe MEMORIAL DAY holiday weekend, and one filled with gratitude and remembrance.
BREAK SOME EGGS: While everyone would like to get out the door by 5 p.m., I have never seen anyone drop dead from missing the door at 5 p.m. We must never forget our purpose is to serve. . .
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The Kentucky Limousine Association
is warning members about a Louisville operator who has drawn numerous complaints from abandoned and ripped off customers. INVESTIGATIVE TV REPORT HERE
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE NYTLC? The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission is finally trying to discipline some of the CABBIES CAUGHT CLIPPING the most passengers, but it looks like the fines for the rest of the bunch will be well below the amounts they ripped off. But then the NYTLC has to abide by its priorities. While it spent all this time and energy on formulating and enforcing a ban on Bluetooth in for-hire vehicles, thousands of cabbies were overcharging passengers, through a combination of faulty equipment and/or the manipulation of it. Your government at work. -- M.R.
DEADLINE NEARS: As the Friday, May 28 deadline approaches for the LCT 100 LARGEST FLEETS LIST, we wanted to dispel some myths and misconceptions about the list that keep some operators from participating. The list is part Who's Who, the only ranking of operators based on fleet numbers, and an industry reference.
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CHAUFFEURS APPEAR TO BE IN THE CLEAR:
The TLC CRACKDOWN ON CABBIE
cell phone chit-chat continues unabated; a newspaper article mentions that livery chauffeurs at least can use a radio device to talk to dispatch. (Gee, thanks for the 1950s era technology privileges, TLC). Since most chauffeurs are more professional and skilled than the average cabbie, how about restoring BlueTooth privileges for NYC chauffeurs as well, Dearest Mommy State
? -- M.R.
INSURANCE RATES: Down for trucking and charter/tour bus industries, but not for limousine and airport transportation, according to the latest TRANSPORTATION INSURANCE PRICING SURVEY.
first-ever reality- race among five relatively new operators takes shape on the new GREAT LIMO RACE BLOG
as the contestants being posting regular updates on their businesses and progress. Comments and advice are welcome.
Do you have employees that have become stagnant? Sometimes you need to clean the house and that means showing people to the door.
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PERFECT STORM: California operators to fight SFO green vehicle policy; scientist claims global cooling; CA global warming bill would drive business out of state; and it's a cold wet May in Europe.
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TARGETED MARKETING: Has helped Atlantic City casino companies go after customers who bring the most revenue, and discourage the busloads of day-trippers.
OPTIMISTIC, BUT CAUTIOUS:
More biz travel ahead, but more focus on making money, LATEST AMERICAN EXPRESS RESEARCH SHOWS
TO CATCH A LIMO:
Bureaucrats at the San Francisco International Airport seem hellbent on enforcing STRICT GREEN VEHICLE REGULATIONS
, which will be the subject of a major GCLA TOWN HALL MEETING TUESDAY NIGHT
. But, aren't there much more pressing things on the table, such as the ILLEGAL OPERATORS LURKING
on airport property? Any SFO green vehicle policy will be rendered meaningless if illegal operators, who don't follow any rules anyway, keep accessing the airport. So let's get this straight: SFO wants to criminalize non-green vehicles used by LEGAL operators, but yet it and the California Public Utilities Commission so far cannot effectively crackdown on ILLEGAL ones who avoid licenses, insurance, and safety checks. Maybe a solution here would be that no green vehicle policies can be adopted at any airports until state and airport authorities meet measurable, defined goals in reducing illegal operator activity. -- M.R.
REFORMS TO AVERT FUTURE OVERCHARGES; RIP-OFFS NOT WIDESPREAD: The NY cab fare overcharge investigation concludes; this is not a problem in chauffeured transportation. No meters needed. You get what you pay for.
Before the for-hire transportation industries get excited about pursuing electric vehicles, consider the fact that they really cannot run on their own. They continuously need INFUSIONS OF GREEN. Americans should pick and PAY for their own vehicles, not subsidize the fantasymobiles of others. -- M.R.
LEAVE THEM ALONE:
Any wonder that large numbers of NYC cabbies are GETTING CITED for using hands-free electronic devices? What the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission fails to understand is that cabbies, like chauffeurs, rely on the devices to communicate and conduct business. The TLC needs to consider THE EVIDENCE THAT HANDS-FREE DEVICES are far safer that MANUAL cell phones and texting devices, which should be banned behind the wheel.
Let's hope common sense prevails at the federal level with pending distracted driving legislation in the U.S. Congress that should allow hands-free electronic devices but ban the manual ones for commercial drivers, a reasonable pro-business position supported by the National Limousine Association. Such a law, however, would need a provision overriding the little local techno-nannies of New York. -- M.R.
JIM LUFF: A customer’s definition of efficiency may vary from yours. When reservations need to be made, make sure you answer your phone live or risk losing valuable business.
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AND SO WHAT? Latest reseach from Business Travel News shows only 3.6% of travel suppliers get rejected for environmental reasons. Maybe the business community is smart and sustainable enough to understand some things the eco-warriors do not. -- M.R.
GREEN VEHICLE RULE NO. 1:
Just because a vehicle is a Lexus and it says hybrid, doesn't make it a luxury vehicle. Sales of the Lexus 250h are LACKLUSTER, but no one should be scratching their heads. We've learned that luxury lesson with the Toyota Prius. You can paint it black, but it's still the same old non-luxury compact.
And does anyone even remember the ghastly CADILLAC CIMARRON?
To qualify as luxurious and green, a vehicle MUST BE BIG, or it's just green. In the zeal to go green, let's make sure the concept of luxury doesn't get downsized to RENTAL CAR COMPACTDOM. Maybe the Lexus 250h should be renamed the Prius Plus? Truth in labeling? -- M.R.
ALONG WITH CHAUFFEURED VEHICLES? In another positive sign of a travel turnaround, stays at high-end hotels are up; if more business is going to luxury hotels, then luxury vehicles should be gaining close behind.
LOCAL GEMS: Every corner of America has attractions that can become destinations for bus tours or mini-bus tours. In this rural Alabama County, tourism organizers have made the most of more PERMANENT FIXTURES.
TRYING TIMES: Operator Bill Faeth, owner of Silver Oak Transportation in Nashville, Tenn., has experienced the challenge of a business dealing with a disaster. While his chauffeured operations remained functional and unscathed during the record floods of the past week, his other business, Glow Golf at the Opry Mills Mall near Opryland, sustained water damage. Faeth has documented some photos and flooding accounts on the Silver Oak web site.
The clean-up will occupy Faeth for several weeks. Faeth wrote in an e-mail to LCT: "The flooding came on extremely fast and no one, not even TEMA and our local Army Corp of Engineers, thought it would flood until it was too late on Sunday evening. . . . I have been dealing with the devastation of my GlowGolf business at the Opry Mills Mall and redirecting group travel that was scheduled at Opryland this week."
We wish Bill the best in his efforts to fix the damage and recover his lost business. -- M.R.
ABOUT PHOTO: Bill Faeth (R) at the 2010 ILCT Show in Las Vegas in January.
PUTTING OFF THE RITZ:
NYTimes article explains how more business travelers are BACK ON THE ROAD
, but with smaller travel budgets. If you want to counter the penny-pinch knee-jerk instinct to take a cab, then promote/offer value-added alternatives. One industry source in the know says: The number of runs are UP; but the average spend per run is DOWN. -- M.R.
LCT's contributing editor Jim Luff is mentioned/seen in a local newspaper column about businesses providing wedding-related services
. Operators should always be angling for such free exposure since it can be more powerful than an ad.
SILLY BUREAUCRACY: Operators contending with inconsistent and unreasonable regulations in Hillsborough County, Florida win a key victory.
As most of you know by now, I never let. . .
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of Mosaic Global Transportation
in Palo Alto, Calif. recounts a harrowing experience Saturday in NYC's Times Square for him and his wife, Rhonda. INTERVIEW WITH NY1 HERE
DRILLING FOR DOOM: Amid oil scares, green scares, climate scares, some facts are needed to induce deep breaths. . .
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MEMORABLE MARKETING: This WED VIDEO AD for a limo operator may not exactly get an LCT Marketing Award, but it does deserve credit for creating a distinct impression, which is what advertising should do.