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By Martin Romjue, LCT editor
When you look at the career of Matt Daus, it’s easy to get lost in the alphabet soup of acronyms: NYTLC, IATR, LANJ, LBOA, TLPA, BCAC, LANY, LILA — and that’s not even a complete list. Daus either works for or with a growing roster of groups that either represent or regulate the chauffeured and ground transportation industries.
The resulting access, connections and insider insights have made Daus one of the most influential and helpful industry figures. As a former 10-year Commissioner of the powerful New York Taxi & Limousine Commission, and before that its general counsel, Daus has navigated the Byzantine workings of New York city government, worked with Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, and handled one of the toughest crowds on city streets: Cab drivers. His diverse professional background puts him at the hub of many industry regulatory issue debates.
With his recent promotion to law firm partner, Daus now securely stands on the other side of the public/private sector divide: As a private attorney who leads the Transportation Group Practice
at the prestigious Manhattan law firm of Windels, Marx, Lane & Mittendorf
. His division’s clients include a roster of private sector taxi, chauffeured transportation, shuttle transportation, and ground transportation companies and operators.
Daus also is president of the International Association of Transportation Regulators
, a professional group for such regulators. He is counsel to the Limousine Associations of New Jersey
and the Luxury Base Operators Association
— the two most high-profile groups of operators in the New York/New Jersey transportation megalopolis. His multiple roles certainly give him a unique vantage point, as he deftly taxis among state and federal issues while based in the heart of America’s chauffeured transportation industry.
Daus recently spoke with LCT Magazine
about the state of rules, the art of making rules, good rules, bad rules, and how to make sense of them. We caught him just before he was about to embark on another busy travel schedule to various events defined by their acronyms: TLPA convention in San Francisco, LANJ and LBOA meetings at the Limousine Digest Show in Atlantic City, N.J., NLA board of directors conference in California in December, and IATR’s first European conference in Amsterdam. And that was his out-of-town schedule just for the rest of 2011.Q: Being President of the IATR and a private attorney representing transportation companies that prefer fewer regulations would, on the surface, appear to be at odds. How do you reconcile the two roles?A:
It’s actually been very complementary. We help private clients in the Transportation Practice Group. We have 30 attorneys working on disciplines that are full service for anything on four wheels. We negotiate contract agreements, develop new business relationships with regulators, and call deputy commissioners. Fortunately, when you get on the other side you see things in the process that could work better. Cutting red tape for clients is a top priority for Transportation Group.
The IATR is more educational. We focus on best practices, research, and breaking down barriers between regulators and the industry. There used to be a lot of suspicions between regulators and the industry. We instill a philosophy of open doors with regulators. We need to understand that regulating is part of the business and it has impact. They’re not trying to hurt the public, but trying to serve the public.