Prius Limousine not Authorized to Pick-Up at Tampa Airport

Posted on September 26, 2007 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa International Airport and the Channelside cruise ship terminal have prohibited TB Limo’s Toyota Prius’ from picking up passengers at both locations.

In order for Moshe Leib, the owner of the company, to use his Prius to pick up passengers at Tampa International Airport or Channelside, he needs approval from the Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission.

The rules say licensed limos must be luxury cars as defined by the Kelley Blue Book and Leib can ask for a waiver.

While his would have been the first eco-friendly hybrid licensed for public hire in Hillsborough County, it would hardly have been unprecedented. Hybrids are showing up in fleets and eco-minded car-for-hire companies in New York, Arizona, and Boston. In California, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Al Gore are said to hire them.

"Other limousine drivers laughed at me when I first showed up at events," the owner of the Santa Monica-based Eco-Limo told the Los Angeles Times. "They aren't laughing anymore."

Leib was not so lucky. His Prius got a big thumbs-down. Then-Executive Director Gregory Cox had said a waiver could open the door to other vehicles inappropriate for high-end services.

Leib can use the car to drop off passengers in Hillsborough, but can't pick them up there. He has taken his case to federal court.

"Utterly ridiculous," said his lawyer, Luke Lirot. "It's not like driving up in the Oscar Meyer hot dog car. Only here would the abundantly obvious be something you had to establish through litigation."

SOURCE: St. Petersburg Times

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