GCLA Asks For Legal Review Of WeDriveU

Posted on July 1, 2009 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

LOS ANGELES — The Greater California Livery Association met recently with officials from the California Public Utilities Commission to request a formal legal review of Avis operations in California.

The GCLA is still working on a formal position on WeDriveU as it awaits the findings from the CPUC’s legal staff and determines the extent to which Avis operates its chauffeured model at the Los Angeles International Airport and in the greater Los Angeles area.

The CPUC is the regulatory agency in California that defines certain minimum requirements for vehicles, chauffeurs, and companies to transport passengers commercially in the state.

Avis WeDriveU has been successfully challenged and halted in a number of metro regions this year, reflecting the aggressive efforts of local associations and support from the National Limousine Association. Regulatory rulings and/or legislative measures against Avis WeDriveU have occurred in Miami-Dade County, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the state of New Jersey, Houston, and Atlanta, in addition to others.

The Avis WeDriveU business model separates vehicles and chauffeurs into distinct companies, requiring clients to contract for each service. That set-up enables Avis to skirt the licensing, regulations, inspections, and fee schedules that apply to legitimate chauffeured transportation operators in their respective local areas and states. As a result, Avis can charge less and avoid enforceable safety standards, thereby cheating limousine operators out of business.

While the GCLA does not have a formal position, a recent letter to officials by GCLA executive vice president Jonna Sabroff states, “It is our opinion of the GCLA the WeDriveU model does not meet the minimum requirements for chauffeured transportation in California.”

Sabroff also pointed out in the letter that the WeDriveU model was never designed to handle the requirements of chauffeured transportation and raises questions about whether it offers adequate insurance coverage and properly trained drivers. Another question is whether Avis WeDriveU pays appropriate transportation-related access and licensing fees to the CPUC and major airports.

“The acceptance of the Avis/WeDriveU Chauffeur Drive Program, without regulation, calls into question why any charter party carrier providing services [for] commercial chauffeured transportation business needs to be subject to the CPUC licensing requirements or the airport permit programs,” Sabroff writes. “It becomes very serious when government regulation is applied unfairly and unequally. This is a serious problem which discriminates unfairly against the legal chauffeured transportation operators in California.”

To go to the GCLA website, CLICK HERE

Source: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine

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