DIVERSITY: While reading this news piece on Pittsburgh Transportation Group hiring a new HR manager, it struck me once again how many sizable operators have over the years expanded their fleets beyond chauffeured transportation. And that also means taxis, which is ironic since the taxi industry has been hostile many times to the limo business when it comes to lobbying and pressuring airports and state/municipal bureaucrats to go easy on taxis and take it out on limos. Perhaps this will change that picture long term as taxi companies continue to lose revenue and chauffeured transportation expands. And perhaps the long term growth will be tied into operators becoming transportation companies and not just limo companies. Metro Cars (Taylor, Mich.) and Harrison Global (Waltham, Mass.) operate taxis along with chauffeured vehicles. AFC Corporate Transportation (Houston) has put school buses into its mix. And there are plenty of other operators who are building impressive transportation fleets especially through motorcoaches and shuttle/limo buses. The management duties are similar: hiring and training drivers; financing, maintaining and remarketing fleet vehicles; dealing with licensing and regulation mandates; setting up corporate accounts. Once you get into the transportation business, you can expand those skills and resources into ancillary markets. This could be a way to stabilize revenue and profits during economic downturns. -- J.L.
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