TOM HALLIGAN: The Sunshine State is looking very bright these days for many private transportation operators, manufacturers and vehicle dealers. On a recent road trip through Florida with stops in Tampa, Orlando Ft. Myers, and Miami, the mood was definitely upbeat as business is recovering from the dismal pre-recession years. In fact, some operators told me they had some record-setting months in 2013 and recorded annual double-digit growth. Overall, the outlook for continued growth in 2014 is very optimistic.
Of course, there are still operators that are struggling—especially some small limousine companies— forcing mergers or shutting down their business as one operator informed me during my trip.
However, regardless of the size of the business, Florida operators face stiff competition, surging insurance rates, increases in vehicle costs and maintenance, and now the DOT has stepped up its efforts to enforce regulations on 9-plus seat passenger vehicles and motorcoaches, now that the Florida Highway Patrol has been placed in charge of DOT regulation enforcement.
I’ll be writing an in depth article for LCT Magazine’s March issue about my conversations with state association leaders, operators, and suppliers, but I am always interested in additional comments on the state of the industry in Florida, and other states as well.
—Tom Halligan, LCT East Coast Editor
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