ASBURY PARK, N.J. – With gasoline prices at $2.12 per gallon in
Monmouth and Ocean counties, taxi and limousine companies are walking
a fine line as they try to hold onto their customers – and their
"It is a nightmare," said Michael Renehan, owner of Allaire Limousines
in Farmingdale, N.J. "It's up again today. There is no stopping it."
For the past couple of months, Renehan has added a surcharge of $3 per
trip to help cover the increased costs. The amount is adjusted
depending on the destination. Allaire's monthly fuel costs have risen
from about $14,000 to $18,000.
"For the most part, the customers understand the situation we are in,"
Renehan said. "They buy fuel . . . on the road. They know what the
In Monmouth and Ocean counties, the average price for a gallon of
regular gasoline was $1.99 a month ago and $1.93
a year ago, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
Taxi drivers have a hard time coping with rising gasoline prices. Taxi
fares are generally set by municipal governments, so drivers usually
can't automatically charge more as their costs go up.
Harold Morgan, director of education for the National Taxicab
Limousine and Paratransit Association, an industry group, said
customers tend to choose cheaper forms of transportation for what he
called discretionary trips, nights out on the town or going to a ball
game, but not for milestone events.
With limousine companies coming off a "pretty good prom season,"
Morgan predicted wedding reservations will boom as usual during the
summer because they are one-time expenses booked far in advance.
Adena Whitaker, a manager with Five Star Events in Washington, D.C.,
said many of the limousine services she works with have raised their
rates recently, but that hasn't discouraged limousine use, especially
for wedding parties.
"It doesn't really matter to customers what it costs," Whitaker said.
"They want to have a nice night, where they don't have to be worried
about being focused on the road or worry about drunk driving."