WASHINGTON, D.C. – Already, Inauguration Day is proving that the best things come to those who prepare: Area housing is almost completely booked, getting tickets is a long shot at best and D.C.'s event venues are quickly being snatched up.
Add one more service to the endangered species list: chauffeurs.
Many of D.C.'s elite car companies are at near capacity for rentals of SUVs, limousines and Town Cars for the inauguration.
"It's insane," says Robert Alexander, president and founder of RMA Limousine in Rockville, Md. He's referring, of course, to the overwhelming number of requests he's received for inaugural events, "and it's climbing more and more every day."
Richard Kane, president of International Limousine, echoes the sentiment, telling us that this is "no doubt the largest" number of inquires he's ever received for an inauguration. And he should know: His company has worked nine of them.
It's getting so bad that they're beginning to haul other vehicles in from around the country. Gene Arnow, owner of Gaithersburg's Arnow Transportation, told us that some less-established companies are "pulling in limos from all over the east coast – and some drivers who don't know what the hell they're doing." Arnow says he's charging "above the norm" prices, due to the fact that driving around Washington on and around Inauguration Day is no walk in the park, a difficulty that is only compounded by the fact that the Presidential Inaugural Committee doesn't plan to announce road closures until a week out. His rate is normally $50 per hour for a minimum of two hours, but inauguration will jack that up to $70 per hour for a ten-hour minimum.
Beyond the surge in rental demands, the top choice of transportation has changed, too: While Town Cars and limousines are usually the first to go, both Alexander and Kane said that, for this occasion, the SUVs were a preferred request by most (so much for getting off that foreign oil...). As Alexander put it (curiously): "People like having a lower profile with the current state of the economy."
Of course you could just hail a taxi, right?
"That will be nearly impossible," said Alexander.
Source: The Washington DC Examiner