The July meeting of the Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association (PRLA) was held outdoors at the Deck at Harbor Pointe on the Delaware River, where members socialized and relaxed taking in the summer breeze.
Many of you with a few decades under your belt will recall long-ago summer days that moved at a snail’s pace and were filled with nights at the ballpark, weekends at the beach, lake, mountains or backyard barbecues, and pre-mobile phone vacations that actually meant time off from work.
I’m sure many of you know people who answer email on vacation because they have panic attacks if they are digitally detached for a week, or dread returning to the office and spending countless hours sifting through streams of email.
Those days are long gone now that we are tethered to digital gear that keeps us connected 24/7 to work and the world. So it was refreshing to attend the Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association’s annual July meeting held at the Deck at Harbor Pointe on the Delaware River, just outside the city, complete with Tiki bar, buffet, and sailboats out on the river taking advantage of a cool summer breeze. It was lots of fun and a warm social outing — but there was plenty of business on deck.
PRLA member Michael Barreto of Flyte Tyme Worldwide Transportation updated members on recent activity regarding illegal activity from Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) at Philadelphia International Airport, such as Uber and Lyft that disregard local transportation rules and regulations at airports and train stations. Like other associations fighting Uber and Lyft, the PRLA has raised the issue with city police and the parking authority that have responded with sting operations. In fact, during a three-month sting, almost $5,000 in fines were issued to illegal TNCs and one vehicle impounded. Has it stopped TNC activity? No. But the word is out that there is no green light at the airport for illegal drivers.
In the sub-tropical state where summer is a year-round Margaritaville, Dave Shaw (Olympus Limousine), president of the West Florida Livery Association and a NLA board director, reports a new initiative to have a bill written and sponsored by legislators that requires TNCs to be licensed with commercial insurance “so all companies are playing on a level playing field.”
It’s always business as usual for the Limousine Associations of New Jersey, even as the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, Arthur, brushed the state with gusty wind and rain — but no damage. Barry Lefkowitz, LANJ lobbyist (Management & Government Resources, Inc.), reports that five members of the association met with nine members of the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) to address the growth of TNCs in the state not subject to the same laws as limousine companies. Lefkowitz reports that the meeting was successful and the NJDOL is committed to ensuring that TNCs follow state laws pertaining to private transportation companies.
In the state of 10,000 lakes which provide plenty of summer fun, Gina Brennan (Corporate Car & Coach) and president of the Minnesota Chauffeured Transportation Association (MCTA), reports continued progress in working with the state to “modernize” the state’s ancient chauffeured transportation rules and regulations.
Fran Shane: 1947-2014
On a sad note, Fran Shane, former National Limousine Association (NLA) executive director from 2003 to 2007, died July 3 at age 67 in Camden, N.J., from complications associated with diabetes. Shane, of Mount Laurel, N.J., served as head of the NLA from 2003 to 2007. He also was a former journalist, college instructor, and political and business executive.
When accepting the position as head of the NLA, Shane said at the time: “The great thing about limousine owners is that they are the American dream. They provide a service that makes people feel good, build a business from the ground up, and are the kind of risk takers that would make most people pass out from the pressure.”
Regarding his tenure at the NLA, he said: “The secret to a successful association is great service. At the NLA our great service begins with our government affairs and lobbying efforts. When we are able to defend our members against aggressive lawmakers, oppressive regulators and self-important government officials, we are providing a valuable service. While we can’t win all the battles, we can at least let them know that when they mess with NLA members they’re in for a street fight.”
Lefkowitz, who worked as the NLA’s lobbyist during Shane’s tenure, said, “Fran was a gentleman and classy individual to work with. He had a grasp of the industry and provided the leeway for me to accomplish the things necessary and encouragement to do what I believed best served all NLA members.”