Avis Acts Up Again At New Jersey Airport

Posted on August 24, 2011

NEWARK, N.J. — The Limousine Associations of New Jersey is urging its members and operators to be on the lookout for Avis WeDriveU chauffeured activity at airports and ports governed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey following recent sightings of Avis/WeDriveU signs.

Since Aug. 17, at least three operators who serve on the LANJ board spotted WeDriveU drivers holding signs for clients in the waiting areas of Newark Liberty International Airport this month, indicating that the car rental agency may be violating a state law A3634 that went into effect in January 2010, said Barry Lefkowitz, executive director of LANJ and an industry lobbyist.

The state law and a ruling by PANYNJ forbid Avis from offering rent-a-chauffeurs in tandem with rental car services while on PANYNJ-administered properties. Such activity would violate the contract for service that Avis has with PANYNJ.

As a result, Lefkowitz has contacted law enforcement supervisors and the airport manager at Newark Liberty to ask them to investigate the matter and make sure the state law is being enforced. Lefkowitz also is documenting sightings of alleged violations among New Jersey operators who service the airport and any other New Jersey airports or cruise ship terminals.

“We are asking the membership to give us alerts so we can call the port authority police,” Lefkowitz said. “You are not allowed to [offer] a rental car with a rental chauffeur.”

Avis’ bifurcated chauffeured business model — which separates cars and drivers into distinct companies, thereby skirting licensing and regulations that apply to limousine companies — has been ruled unsuitable by governing bodies of multiple city, state and municipal jurisdictions across the U.S. since 2008.

The unfair competitive threat of that business model has emerged as the single most contentious and harmful issue that the chauffeured transportation industry has faced in recent years.

BACKGROUND: LCT article on New Jersey Avis WeDriveU legislation.

Lefkowitz expects to hear back soon from Port Authority Commander Ramon Martinez at the Newark airport. Meanwhile, any operators who spot Avis chauffeured activity at airports should contact Lefkowitz at (609) 267-2855.

— Martin Romjue, LCT editor

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