Bills before the New York City Council and the California General Assembly would make Avis WeDriveU subject to the same rules as all other chauffeured transportation companies.
NEW YORK CITY — Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr. has introduced legislation that would regulate the chauffeured services of car rental agencies in the same way as luxury limousine operators.
Meanwhile, a similar measure before the California General Assembly gained major traction last week.
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Vallone introduced the legislation to the council this month in response to several complaints from the public and the industry. If approved, the legislation would regulate car rental companies that have tried to circumvent rules and regulations that apply to chauffeured car services.
Avis WeDrive, for example, now offers customers the opportunity to be chauffeured in its rental cars. Because the customer technically “rents” the car and chauffeur from separate entities, Avis has managed to skirt the licensing and regulatory requirements of the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission, which oversees all for-hire vehicles within New York City. Its drivers are not screened according to TLC rules. The practice allows for drivers to bypass background checks and various other screening procedures.
“This legislation will stop companies from cutting corners and go through the proper channels to have safe and responsible drivers on the road,” said Vallone, chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee. “‘For-hire’ drivers should not be allowed to operate without any regulation.”
One group that brought the Avis problem to the attention of the New York City Council and consulted on its development is the LUXURY BASE OPERATORS ASSOCIATION, a group representing luxury limousine operators in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
“In proposing this legislation, the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission will be able to properly license and regulate these drivers and safeguard our passengers and industry from unregulated operators,” said Sergio Sanchez, president of LBOA.
Also supporting the legislation is the council’s Ground Transportation Action Committee, including GTAC president Seth Berman, and former State Senator and Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Michael Balboni.
Sanchez and LBOA officers will be working with Vallone to help explain the bill to other council members and gather support for it in coming weeks. A vote has not yet been scheduled.
If the NYC and CA measures pass, they would join a similar law passed in New Jersey in January as the strongest legislative solutions yet to remedying the unfair competitive advantages of Avis WeDriveU.
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Sources: Office of Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr.; Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine