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This is about the last thing the chauffeured transportation industry wants to hear a chauffeur say: Step into your chauffeured rental car, Sir.
Article updated 2:30 p.m. PDT/5:30 p.m. EDT with comments from GGA.
BURLINGAME, Calif. — WeDriveU, Inc., a professional driver staffing service that works with the Avis rental car agency, recently partnered with Global Ground Automation, Inc. (GGA), a supplier of ground transportation reservation software.
The partnership combines Chauffeur Drive by WeDriveU with GGA’s online ground transportation marketplace. Corporate travel managers, agents and employees can add a WeDriveU chauffeur for meetings, business travel, event shuttles and social occasions through global distribution systems (GDS) or corporate booking tools powered by GGA.
WeDriveU, a separate company from Avis but that does regular business with the rental car agency, offers chauffeurs and security drivers throughout the U.S. and Canada to drive clients in their vehicles or in an Avis rental vehicle for itineraries that range from a full day of meetings to a week-long event.
“WeDriveU has an innovative offering that’s transforming the way corporations think of full day car and driver use,” said Gregg Tuccillo, president of Global Ground Automation, in a news release statement. “Integrating WeDriveU’s Chauffeur Drive service into an overall travel management plan offers considerable cost savings.”
The Avis/WeDriveU business model has been fought intensely by chauffeured transportation industry leaders and advocates who contend it skirts regulatory, licensing, and safety measures in states, municipalities, and airports nationwide. During the last few years, the National Limousine Association and assorted state associations have successfully advanced legislation at the state level and regulatory reforms at local airport levels that have effectively invalidated the Avis chauffeured venture in many areas. Those include the states of New Jersey and California, the cities of Philadelphia, Atlanta and Houston, the county of Miami-Dade in Florida, and at airports and ports under the jurisdiction of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
By separating chauffeurs and vehicles into distinct incorporated companies, Avis and WeDriveU offer the same services as traditional luxury limousine companies but are not held accountable to the same regulatory costs, licensing, insurance, and safety standards. This enables them to undercut the chauffeured transportation market with lower rates. Chauffeured transportation companies must then compete at a disadvantage.
NLA President Diane Forgy said that outrage about the venture was rippling among operators throughout the industry this week as they became aware of the partnership.