Living on the Fly

Posted on April 14, 2008 by LCT Magazine

By Jim A. Luff

The limousine life is a lifestyle as opposed to a “normal” job.  We run 24/7, 365 days a year and almost every day there is some wrench thrown into our daily mix.  It certainly keeps you on your toes.  Some last minute changes or issues can wreak havoc on your day where others are merely a speed bump in life that must be addressed. 

My day yesterday seemed to be plagued by issues I had no control over but yet I was expected to react on a moment’s notice to fix the issues as they came up.  Unfortunately when you are the boss, everyone expects you to have the answers and quickly resolve issues.

The first issue thrown at me was a charter that had already started suddenly changed their itinerary in a drastic manner.  A trip to Disneyland would now include a stop in Pasadena on the way to the Magic Kingdom.  Seems like it should be no problem.  The only problem is this chauffeur does not own his own GPS device and is not very knowledgeable of the vast Los Angeles freeway system.  Now, instead of a trip that would consist of a straight shot from Bakersfield to Anaheim via Interstate 5 direct to the Disneyland off-ramp would involve multiple freeways.  In fact, it would include using Interstate 210, involving a tricky interchange in Pasadena, the actual destination in Pasadena and then on to the 605 Freeway and back to I-5.  We needed to get these instructions to the chauffeur via text messaging and now we would more closely monitor the GPS system watching the travel all the way to Disneyland.

Next up, a chauffeur calls in sick for the night.  Not just any chauffeur, but a commercial licensed Class B limo- bus driver capable of driving a 30 passenger limo-bus on a pub crawl.  Two hours to go and we must locate a chauffeur who can assume this run.  15 minutes later, mission accomplished.

So, our replacement chauffeur shows up and begins his pre-trip inspection.  All is going well until he attempts to fire up the engine.  Dead battery!  Okay, so we jump it.  We are concerned about why it has a dead battery.  It hasn’t worked in six days.  Is it possible someone left something turned on?  Off he goes to begin the run.

Next, another chauffeur reports to work for his trip in our 20-passenger Excursion.  He reports the vehicle will not fire up.  It turns over really strong but just won’t actually start.  No time to spare on this one.  We make the decision to move the passengers to another limo-bus.  If anything goes wrong with the first bus that rolled out, now we have no rescue vehicle.  The Excursion won’t start and the only other bus in the yard will not hold the first group.  Off to work this chauffeur goes.

By this time, our fleet manager arrives.  Looks at the key in the ignition of the Excursion and laughs.  He says he doesn’t know why the chauffeur was using that key.  It is a door key that belongs in the chauffeur's pocket during his shift.  While it will open the door, it is an imbedded key that has not been programmed.  The only function it is intended to serve is to allow the chauffeur back in the vehicle should he lock his keys in the car.  Every vehicle in our fleet had a spare door key that goes in the chauffeur’s pocket.  The Excursion fired right up with the proper key.

Meanwhile, the first limo-bus that left first has a new problem.  The chauffeur calls in to report he has turned the bus off while his party had dinner before beginning the bar hopping.  Guess what?  Yep, it won’t start again.  Off we go again to jump it.  We take the Excursion to jump it with a plan to bring it in to the yard and move the passengers to the Excursion.  They decline and say they will take their chances with the limo-bus.

I went to bed with a headache!

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