Luxury Coach & Transportation

September 2018

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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Page 27 of 83

RULES & REGUL ATIONS Amid some high profile accidents, deaths, injuries, and skyrocketing insurance premiums, Chicago operators are chafing under a web of strict new rules. By Jim A. Luff, LCT contributing editor W hen party buses entered the ground transportation market in the early 90s, they delivered a new stream of revenue as an exciting new service that was basically a nightclub on wheels. ey quickly gained popu- larity for bachelor parties, weddings, quinceaneras, and out of town concerts. ey commanded hefty hourly rates and the return on investment was huge. Today, they have become the black eye of the industry with reports of drunk passengers falling out of emer- gency exists, a decapitated teen who stuck his head out of a sky-door, drunk passengers being struck by cars while exiting, and several shootings. Effects Of Bad Party Bus Publicity e fallout from of all of this bad pub- licity has become a nightmare for op- erators who have seen huge spikes in insurance premiums while many car- riers have simply refuse to insure them at all. Some operators can't find the necessary insurance. e City of Chicago has implement- ed some of the strictest regulations in the industry that by all accounts was completely misguided despite repeated input from and meetings with mem- bers of the Illinois Limousine Associa- tion (ILA). Las Vegas is reported to be considering additional regulations that would closely mirror those in Chicago. e Nevada Gaming Control Board requires all individuals who promote nightlife venues in a casino to un- dergo background checks for licens- ing for quality control purposes. It has extended those regulations to include transportation companies — and party buses in particular — to also possess a license from the Gaming Control Board because they are dropping off patrons at casinos to consume alcohol and enter nightlife venues. Chicago has basically told operators if a bus starts, ends, or stops at any es- tablishment holding a liquor license, the bus must have a licensed security guard onboard, says Antoinette Gonza- les (aka e Mini-Bus Lady) from Aries Charter in Chicago. To comply with the regulations costs a lot of money. Party Buses Incur Extra Expenses e additional costs to operate a party bus include increased insurance pre- miums, the cost of licensed guards, camera systems, operating permits, and background checks. Lou Castro, owner of Earth Limousines and presi- dent of the Nevada Bus and Limousine Association, says, "We already are hav- ing to deal with Uber and Lyft, and now they are squeezing even more out of our transportation small businesses. Las Vegas is a big city, but everyone has to remember it is made up of many small businesses." e licensing alone in Ve- gas can range from $250 to $2,500. New Rules Undercut Consumer Value Pricing "For small businesses in the transpor- tation industry, our whole selling point is we are good people with a good price and good customer service," Castro says. "at continues to be harder to provide with all the cost increases being thrown at us". Las Vegas has a 3% rideshare tax in addition to the standard taxes and annual business licensing fees passed on to the consumer. In Chicago, DMC companies are complaining to the ILA that they are averaging additional costs of $500 per job. Under the law, a bus picking up at a hotel and heading to the airport must have a guard since hotels have liquor licenses. Although the duration of the trip might be less than half an hour, the consumer will have to pay for four hours of guard service. Chicago Man- dates Onboard Security Guards As mentioned, Chi- cago has imple- mented regula- tions requiring a licensed security guard to be on any bus where alcohol might become a factor. Paula Di Bi- asi, executive direc- tor of ILA says, "Do- ing simple math, depending on the event, can add $200 and up to the price paid by the client." 2 6 WWW.LCTMAG.COM LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION SEPTEMBER 2018 Paula Di Biasi estimates staffing a bus with a security guard could add $200 to the client rate. Limo Party Buses Get Micromanaged

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