Education Moves To The Fore Of TNC Fight

Posted on October 8, 2014 by Tom Halligan - Also by this author

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In the fight against TNCs nationwide, industry trade groups are realizing that education helps influence legislators — and the public — about limousine industry positions and concerns. So far, TNCs in most states do not have to adhere to the same safety, insurance and regulatory standards that limo operators do. By informing politicians, the media and the public, the National Limousine Association and state limo groups can counter the well-funded TNC lobbying and public relations machine.

A GOLA-sponsored message alerting the public about TNCs appears on 28 electronic billboards around Orlando.
A GOLA-sponsored message alerting the public about TNCs appears on 28 electronic billboards around Orlando.

Frontline Florida
The Greater Orlando Limousine Association (GOLA) launched an anti-TNC campaign recently by posting an ad on 28 electronic billboards citywide about the dangers of using Uber or Lyft. GOLA President Cliff Wright said members have been attending public workshops with the police department to point out problems with TNCs, especially the violation of an airport cease-and–desist order.
Likewise, Florida Limousine Association (FLA) President Rick Versace is working with every state agency that regulates ground transportation to issue a Public Service Advisory (PSA) about TNCs. Versace hopes that state and county consumer affairs departments statewide will circulate the PSA to wider audiences prone to using TNCs. “People in the industry know about the issues with TNCs, but we want to raise more awareness with the public,” Versace said.

The FLA PSA language warns consumers that TNCs “pose a significant public safety risk to the riding public … You and your family may be at risk using unlicensed, unregulated app-based services.”

In the Tampa Bay area, Dave Shaw, and vice president of the West Florida Livery Association, reports that limousine company representatives showed up in force at a September Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission meeting on TNCs. It also was attended by Uber and Lyft supporters, and cab company representatives. So far, the commissioners have been tough on TNCs, requiring them to comply with the same county rules for cab and limo services.

Going National
The NLA in August released a six-page position paper (see LimoScene article p.12) that explains the shortcomings of TNCs. The paper will be used as part of the NLA’s national education campaign and included in testimony submitted to government and political hearings addressing TNCs, as well as to alert the media of the NLA’s position.

Dawson Rutter urges NELA members to educate the public and politicians on the industry’s opposition to TNC practices.
Dawson Rutter urges NELA members to educate the public and politicians on the industry’s opposition to TNC practices.

New England
At the September meeting of the New England Livery Association (NELA), NLA board member Dawson Rutter underscored the need to focus more on educating the public and politicians because he asserts that will help turn the tide against TNCs. “We think the real issue with the public in regard to TNC operators is consumer awareness,” Rutter said. “The public is in the dark about what is going on legally, regulatory noncompliance, liability exposure, no drug testing or background checks.” Rutter said the plan for the NLA’s position paper is to distribute it to as many news organizations and corporate compliance departments as possible.

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