Limo Vehicles Exempt From Airport's Green Program

Posted on October 8, 2014

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- After a nearly four-year campaign, the Greater California Livery Association (GCLA) on Oct. 2 won a major victory for limousine operators serving San Diego International Airport.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Board voted unanimously to exempt limousine companies from SAN's alternative fuel and clean air vehicle requirements. The decision spares limousine companies from paying higher user fees for failure to fully comply with those mandates.

Through persistent lobbying by GCLA board members and consultants, the airport staff and Authority board members were convinced that viable and acceptable clean air or alternative fuel vehicles that meet limo industry standards for purchase price, cost of ownership, and customer preferences are not available in today's vehicle market.

Also, San Diego lacks adequate clean air vehicle fueling infrastructure, which is widely dispersed or unavailable at all times throughout San Diego County. This situation denies limousine operators the access to fuel sources required of 24/7 transportation service.

"It's hard to believe it’s been four years. We didn’t give up,” said Mark Stewart, who served as GCLA President from 2011-2014, and advises the group as a consultant. "They finally got the points we were stressing over and over."

Since SDA announced the green program in 2010, GCLA officials met repeatedly with board staff and directors, Stewart told LCT. He partially credits the breakthrough to a change of CFOs at the airport and increased staff understanding of the GCLA position.

So far, vehicle manufacturers are not making luxury vehicles that meet airport green standards. "If there were one getting 40-45 mpg, we would be buying those in a minute," Stewart said. "Fuel is a big expense. But the infrastructure still is not there."

More than 900 permitted livery vehicles access SDA. If the airport had applied the green rules to limousine services, operators would have been required to use only green vehicles at the airport as of 2017 or pay heavy fines. “Just the fee structure would have been a killer to the industry," Stewart said. "Every year, operators would have been going up in the penalty phase because of inability to meet green standards.”

Before the board members voted, the staff noted that the GCLA has petitioned the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates charter-party carriers in the state, to "adopt a regulation providing that vehicle standards for limousine operators and other charter-party carriers are within the Commission's exclusive jurisdiction."

The GCLA believes vehicles should be regulated by federal and state governments, not airport authorities. Los Angeles International Airport, for example, plans to enforce new rules in January 2015 that would require any livery vehicle 8,500-pounds or more to use alternative fuels, Stewart said. While not affecting chauffeured sedans and SUVs, the fuel rule would apply to vans carrying 12-14 passengers or more and mini-buses. The GCLA is working with LAX officials to modify the rules, he said.

In addition to Stewart, the following GCLA leaders and operators coordinated the effort to secure the SDA exemption: Steve Levin, past board member, Jack Nissim, GCLA Treasurer, Anne Daniells, GCLA Secretary, and Rich Azzolino, GCLA President.

Sources: GCLA; Martin Romjue, LCT editor

Background LCT article (Sept. 2012): GCLA Juggles Airport Rules Conflicts

Background LCT article (Sept. 2011): GCLA Alerts Operators To Vehicle Ban

View comments or post a comment on this story. (1 Comment)

More News

Efforts To Delay ELD Mandate Gain Support In Congress

The FMCSA issued the rule in 2015 that requires interstate trucks and buses convert by Dec. 18 of this year.

Inspectors Ready To Enforce CA Stretch Limo Retrofit Law

After three years of delays, operators will need to comply with new safety rules by Jan. 1, 2018.

NLA Partnership With Labor Advocacy Group Targets Uber

More people realize using TNC apps supports companies that mislead and mistreat its workers.

Chicago Party Bus Operators Fight Back Against City Order

About half of the 17 companies on the list insist they are operating legally, one operator says.

Why It Will Take A Lot To Kill Uber

Despite problems, the TNC has a winning streak: It provides a valuable, entrenched, in-demand service.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (1)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - August 2017 $12.95 MILLENNIALS/FAST 40 ISSUE COVER STORY: * How to Score & Keep The Best Young Talent * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close