TAMPA, Fla. — The Hillsborough County Transportation Commission (HCPTC), the regulating authority for limousine vehicles in the county that includes much of the Tampa metro region, approved the Hyundai Equus and Genesis as luxury limousine vehicles on Aug. 8 during its monthly meeting.
The approval gives Hyundai another stamp of legitimacy in its debut year in the chauffeured transportation industry. The two Hyundai models were displayed for the first time at an industry trade show during the 2012 International LCT Show in Las Vegas on Feb. 14.
Commissioners unanimously approved the additions after presentations from Scott Fink, CEO of Hyundai of New Port Richey, Fla. and Hyundai of Wesley Chapel, and Dave Shaw, operations manager of Olympus Limousine in Tampa, a board director of the National Limousine Association, and vice president of the West Florida Livery Association. Shaw was joined by Mark Anthony of Starlight Limousine in speaking of behalf of the industry.
Before the HCPTC devised this list, operators had only a vague definition of what qualifies as a luxury vehicle in the limousine category, Shaw said. The list now includes all major makes and models typically used in chauffeured transportation, such as Lincoln, Cadillac, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Toyota, Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, Hyundai, Jaguar, GMC, Bentley and Rolls-Royce, among others. “There was a controversy when someone came in with a vehicle and the inspectors said it was not a limousine vehicle,” Shaw said.
The list resulted from several workshops and public hearings, and is now officially entered into the county rules, he said.
Limousine transportation providers must pay a $350 annual license fee per vehicle and a $500 certificate fee for the company. The permits allow operators to pick up anywhere in Hillsborough County. Operators running luxury vehicles at the Tampa International Airport must be licensed by the commission and get airport licenses of $150 per year per vehicle. Shaw said a special act of the state legislature allows each regulating body to administer limousine vehicle licenses.
Shaw said that agreeing to an annual airport license fee was a preferable compromise to a more costly transponder option that would have required mounted equipment in each livery vehicle that calculates charges per trip. “It was too costly to fight the airport,” he said. “The airport has millions of dollars in backing and the chances of winning were very low.”
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor