Members of the Kentucky Limousine Association discussed plans to participate and exhibit at the Kentucky State Fair during their August membership meeting held in Louisville. (L to R): Val Newton, Regal Limousine; NeVelle Skaggs, Skaggs Limousine; Chuck Vaughn, R&R Limousine; Eddie Fieldhouse, R&R Limousine; Carey Fieldhouse, KLA president, R&R Limousine; Dave Bryant, Ambassador Capital Limousine; Kent Sparks, KLA Secretary, Lake Cumberland Limousine; Todd Roberts, Jaco Limousine.
Limo trade groups are getting ready to confront the regulatory unfairness surrounding transportation networking companies (TNCs) as state legislatures across the country return from summer recess and take on the growing — and often illegal — operations of TNCs such as Uber and Lyft.
Illinois Operators Petition Governor
The Illinois Limousine Association (ILA) submitted a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn requesting he veto House Bill 4075, approved by the Illinois House and Senate because “the true protections that consumers are looking for are absent in this bill.”
Although the proposed bill has been touted as a consumer protection bill about the growth of TNCs in the state, “codifying this bill into law will almost certainly endanger motorists and consumers, but also grant a false sense of security,” the letter stated. While the ILA agrees that there needs to be “adequate oversight and regulation of the ridesharing services,” the bill is not strong enough to protect all private transportation parties operating legally in the state. The letter was signed by numerous ILA members and urged the governor to meet with the association to further discuss the issues before signing the bill into law.
Uber Defies State Order In Virginia
Staying out in front of the TLC issue, the Virginia Limousine Association (VLA) lined up meetings in August with legislators and Department of Motor Vehicles officials to assert their positions in time for the state legislature setting its 2014-2015 agenda. Despite a statewide cease-and-desist order against Uber and Lyft issued by the DMV, the companies keep running illegally.
Longtime VLA president Glenn Stafford (Love Limousine), who stepped down after serving on the board in various positions since 1990, told LCT at the association’s August meeting that he will continue work on VLA legislative issues — especially the fight against TNCs. Stafford said the VLA will keep pressuring government officials to “level the playing field” so these companies operate with proper insurance and registration.
In other association-related updates:
- Jeff Greene (Greene Worldwide Transportation), vice president of the Greater Atlanta Limousine Association (GALA), reports association members met with the Department of Revenue Commissioner concerning Uber not paying sales tax. They were told the department will investigate the issue. Greene also reported GALA is working with state senators on regulatory issues, and also with the new director of ground transportation at the Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport about improving private transportation vehicle regulations.
- The Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association (PRLA) has been preparing testimony for a late August hearing scheduled by the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC) about transportation regulations related to TNCs operating in the state. PRLA President Jim Salinger (Unique Limousine) will travel to Harrisburg to provide testimony based on member feedback from a survey prepared by PRLA attorney Craig Doll. The survey is an effort to form a collective response on key issues the PUC will address at its hearing, such as: driver standards, vehicle safety, insurance requirements, regulatory enforcement, and specific rules for TNCs.
- The Minnesota Chauffeured Transportation Association (MCTA) has been holding meetings and working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) regulatory officials to propose updates and changes to modernize administrative rules. MCTA President Gina Brennan (Corporate Car & Coach) said some of the MNDOT rule changes being considered include non-controversial updates to reflect the new state law that went into effect July 1 (to allow SUVs to use LM plates and increase the insurance minimum from $300,000 to $1.5 million).At its summer meeting, Laura Roads from MNDOT addressed MCTA members and asked their opinions about several potential rule changes that included revising the $25,000 minimum vehicle cost, defining a “luxury” passenger vehicle, defining the differences between limousine and motor carrier vehicle programs, and using LM plated vehicles for personal use.
- Cliff Wright, President of the Greater Orlando Limousine Association (GOLA), reports the association has been working with the city to make sure Lyft — which started operations in August — is “playing by the same rules that we do.” Orlando police have begun ticketing Lyft drivers and impounding vehicles that are not registered as a “vehicle for hire” under municipal laws. Uber, which also operates in the city, does not comply with municipal codes resulting in drivers also being cited with citations and vehicles impounded. “We are stressing to the city the issue of public safety regarding Lyft and Uber,” Wright said.