PROM CRUSHERS: Next Big Threat To The Industry

Posted on May 28, 2009 by LCT Magazine


SCHOOL COPOUT: The latest in the saga of the banned prom limos in the Narragansett, R.I. school district involves school officials using a school donors' fund to reimburse the parents of high-school students unable to retrieve deposits put on limousines reserved for the senior prom.

This is such spineless behavior on behalf of school officials: Use up money from an education fund to pay for the non-use of limousines because school officials stubbornly insist on cramming their PC anti-limo policy down the throats of students and parents. Say, how about saving the money and just letting students choose between a limo or school-sponsored bus service? What's with the anti-consumer choice movement?

In beating back prom limo service, school officials are relying on the old stand-by excuses of "crisis," "safety," "recession," -- the standard buzz words of busybodies everywhere trying to force unwelcome changes.

For the chauffeured transportation industry, this latest regulatory grab could easily snowball among school districts nationwide as legitimate concern over drunken driving morphs into irrational fear of limo chauffeurs "looking the other way" on teen drinking. This slander upon the industry must be snuffed out cold, lest it metastasize into another false stereotype. Saying that a chauffeur would turn a blind eye to kids performing illegal acts is the same as saying a teacher or principal would. 

There is no safer, enjoyable form of prom transportation than a stretch limousine shared by multiple prom couples. S.O.P. among reputable limousine companies includes signing of parental waivers and contracts, the requirement that divider panels in the limos must remain down at all times, and that any drinking immediately terminates the limo run.

The decision to ban limousines at proms seems more than arbitrary by uninformed individuals. This affects the livelihood of almost all operators, many of them already seeing lost prom business this year because of the recession.

State and local industry associations and the National Limousine Association need to be out front "educating" school officials in districts where prom limos become an issue, and if necessary, lobby and fight for legislative and school rules measures that protect the rights of operators to contract with parents reserving limousines for prom transportation.

With the latest political and governmental assaults on the business travel market, chauffeured transportation operators can ill afford to stand by and watch another solid market segment erode because of ignorant opportunism.

Don't allow the limousines to leave some children behind.

-- Martin Romjue & Linda Moore, LCT editors

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