Luxury Coach & Transportation

March 2015

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR MARCH 2015 11 Meanwhile, West Florida Limousine Association (WFLA) is making headway in its fght against illegal TNCs in the Tampa region. President David Shaw said the association scored a victory in February when the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission voted to seek an injunction against Uber and Lyft because both TNCs have to disre- gard a cease and desist order. "As an industry we were very pleased with the vote to issue the injunction," Shaw said. "A cease and desist was is- sued over 30 days ago and the TNC's still were operating in Hillsborough County. I spoke at the meeting and let them know we were frustrated that these companies were operating ille- gally with little enforcement." Because the TNCs have blown off a December order to stop operations, the move to seek an injunction will carry more weight because it is issued by the courts and carries punitive consequenc- es if the TNCs do not comply. Kentucky Limousine Association The KLA is keeping up the pressure on TNCs through its participation in the Coalition for Passenger Safety, a group of taxi and limousine operators opposed to illegal TNCs in the state. In February, the group held a reception in Frankfort, the state capital, where legislators were invited to meet with limousine and taxi operators, insurance industry representatives, and trial lawyers who expressed their concerns about unregu- lated TNCs. "Our goal is to ensure a level playing feld," said Tom Underwood, a lobbyist for the KLA who is part of the Louisville-based Rotunda Group. "The reception was our way to let legislators know that TNCs should be required to have the same commercial insurance, safety and inspection requirements as limousine companies." Although the state has temporarily approved TNCs while it studies them, there are several bills circulating that propose regulations. "In Kentucky, we do not issue special livery plates to taxis and limousine companies, but we added that to one of the bills as a way for law enforcement to have a way to know who is legal and who is not," he said. It's an uphill battle, but the reception was a wonderful way to talk to legislators and inform them of the issues and concerns of the coalition." ness and service sales taxes. Shanker told the committee that TNCs "think they are something new, and something that should be unregu- lated. They are not. They are a taxi or limousine." The committee did not vote the bill out to the legislature, but will continue discussion. LANJ and its lobby- ing frm, the Kaufman Zita Group, will craft a position statement on TNCs and the chauffeured transportation industry, and step up LANJ's one-on-one educa- tion blitz with state lawmakers. A State Assembly panel in Decem- ber moved a bill forward (3765) that reins in the free-wheeling TNCs, but does not go far enough to protect passengers with insurance and safety requirements, according to LANJ and taxi associations. Florida Limousine Association The FLA scored a major victory Feb. 10 when the Broward County Commission voted unani- mously to put the brakes on TNCs, mandating that Uber and Lyft get operating certifcates like those of taxi and limousine com- panies. The certifcates also require commercial insurance and driver back- ground checks. "It was a great day and very posi- tive," said FLA President Rick Versace (A1A Airport & Limousine, Boca Raton). "There is still concern because Uber and Lyft are violating a previous cease and desist order, so we'll have to see what the commission does about that." The FLA has been at the forefront in the fght against illegal TNCs and held a rally and planning session Feb. 9 to dis- cuss strategy for the commission meet- ing. It worked. More than 200 operators, supporters, and clients — all dressed in red — showed up in force to send a message to the commission. "We held a rally at a hotel the night before and made sure we all were as- signed different talking points to present to the commission about our concerns about TNCs," Versace said. "We dem- onstrated to the commission that we are real people who are small business owners and constituents in their district, and I think that has helped turn them around on the issue." The commission now knows this is not just a fght between taxis and TNCs, but "real businesses that provide car services and transport vans. Now I think they see us in a different light," Versace said. sensible regulations. On Jan. 15, GCLA leaders visited the State Capitol in Sacramento to lobby members of the newly seated 2015 Legislature and talk about the regulatory challenges posed by TNCs. As new legislators moved into their of- fces, some still with unpacked boxes, nearly 30 GCLA members broke up into smaller groups and met with about 25 Assembly representatives, Senators and consultants on key trans- portation and commerce committees. A major topic was pending legislation on TNC insurance requirements and modifcation of strict stretch limousine safety rules. Limousine Association of New Jersey LANJ President Jeff Shanker testifed Feb. 9 before the New Jersey Senate Transportation Committee hearing about a proposed bill that would regulate TNCs the same as chauffeured transportation companies. Shanker's testimony called for TNCs to only run commercially licensed vehicles, obtain commercial liability insurance, and abide by state fngerprint background checks and annual vehicle safety inspections. He also alerted the committee members to the practice of TNCs using independent contractors while not collecting employment, busi- Music Express CEO and Advocates For Fairness In Transportation President Cheryl Berkman encouraged the limousine industry to stay the course in the campaign against TNCs during a GCLA meeting in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. (Photo by Tim Crowley/LCT)

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