Situated between New York, Washington, Baltimore and Atlantic City, Philadelphia is a hub of business and leisure travel. Limousine operators profit from the city’s mesh of historical and modern life, which provides activities and sites for any customer. Corporate travel represents a majority of operators’ work, while tours and group shuttles round out the business.
* The city’s close proximity to surrounding states makes interstate travel a common practice. Operators frequently shuttle passengers between airports in Philadelphia, Newark and New York, Baltimore and Washington.
* Operators are able to capitalize on the city’s abundance of history in addition to primarily serving the corporate market. Tourism packages can include visits to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, as well as demonstrations of Benjamin Franklin’s inventions.
* The Public Utilities Commission oversees limousines and taxis in Pennsylvania. A PUC-issued license is required for intrastate travel, but not for travel originating in Pennsylvania and ending in another state.
* Gypsy operators are a concern to licensed companies because they are not held accountable to the same standards and can create safety risks for passengers. These operators often slip by the PUC because of its many other responsibilities and duties.
* Coupons, which must be purchased in advance, are required to park at Philadelphia Airport, a process that can be a hassle for operators. “Instead of getting more advanced, we’ve gone back to the stone age,” said Tony Viscusi, president of Dav El of Philadelphia. In addition, there are several types of coupons based on the type of vehicle being operated.
* Airport transfers dominate the business and sedans outnumber stretches more than 2 to 1.
* Difficult economic times and concerns over the public’s perception of corporation financial abuse have caused many business travelers to request van shuttles over higher-profile vehicles. “A limo used to be the way to travel, but now that’s not the image many corporate travelers want to have,” said Philip Jagiela, president of Aries Limousine and secretary/treasurer of the Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association.
* An operator must prove financial fitness and need to receive a permit by the PUC. The population and demand of the service area is taken into account when permitting is determined.
* New operators often have better luck acquiring a permit from an established company, rather than applying through the PUC.
* Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association: Nick Tropiano of Tropiano Transportation is president. Phone: (215) 643-5397. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
* South Jersey Limousine Association: Bob Harris of Maple Shade is president. Phone: (856) 910-9482. E-mail: email@example.com.