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Super Uber Panel (L to R): Dawson Rutter, president and founder, Commonwealth Worldwide; Robert Werth, president, Diamond Transportation and president of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA); Alfred LaGasse, CEO of the TLPA: and David Lathbury, panel moderator (Black Tie Limousine) all discuss the effects of transportation networking companies at NELA’s Seminar and Trade Show on April 22.
It’s been a busy spring for associations throughout the country, especially following a brutal winter for operators and business. In fact, the most recent quarterly economic performance report (Jan-Mar.) from the Commerce Department was underwhelming, due in good part to the record-setting cold, snow and ice that plagued most of the nation, disrupting travel and normal business and consumer activity.
But spring has seen renewed economic growth and associations have followed suit. Meetings and events are back on track, as well as members lobbying to fight unfair rogue app competition, and burdensome rules and regulations. From New England, Florida, Minnesota and Virginia, here’s a roundup of some of the association efforts that are making a difference in the industry.
Let’s start in New England, because, well, even during a normal winter it’s cold, snowy and dismally gray. But on April 22 the sun was shining in Worcester, Mass., when the New England Livery Association (NELA) held its annual Seminar and Trade Show. While the event featured educational seminars and exhibits, the highlight was a closing panel discussion on rogue mobile apps. Evidently, Uber got wind of the panel discussion and two young Uber employees paid admission to the open event just to listen in on the panel discussion and report back to upper Uber management on their recon mission.
Well, the Uberites certainly got an earful from panelists Dawson Rutter, president and founder of Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in Boston; Robert Werth, president of Diamond Transportation and president of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA); and Alfred LaGasse, CEO of the TLPA. For a detailed report of the panel discussion, check out my East Coast View blog post at http://www.lctmag.com/blog/eastview/list.
Speaking of the bitter arctic weather, the coldest winter in 35 years didn’t deter the Minnesota Chauffeured Transportation Association (MCTA) from an all-out effort to update the state’s outdated limousine regulations.
The MCTA scored a victory in April — after a 10-year fight — when Gov. Mark Dayton signed the “limo bill” into law. The new regulations broaden the definition of a limousine — now any luxury transportation licensed vehicle that has a 15-passenger capacity, and is properly registered with LM (limousine) plates. In addition, the bill increases the per person liability insurance requirement from $300,000 to $1.5 million per person.