Regulations

Florida Industry Group Benefits From Cooperative Efforts

Martin Romjue
Posted on February 14, 2013
WFLA vice president Dave Shaw helps lead an association that makes sure avenues of communication and cooperation are kept open with Tampa Bay area limousine vehicle regulators.

WFLA vice president Dave Shaw helps lead an association that makes sure avenues of communication and cooperation are kept open with Tampa Bay area limousine vehicle regulators.

WFLA vice president Dave Shaw helps lead an association that makes sure avenues of communication and cooperation are kept open with Tampa Bay area limousine vehicle regulators.
WFLA vice president Dave Shaw helps lead an association that makes sure avenues of communication and cooperation are kept open with Tampa Bay area limousine vehicle regulators.

TAMPA, Fla. — The West Florida Livery Association has racked up a record of getting things done for operators that result from consulting routinely with regulators on solutions.

In the last few years, the group, which involves members from a six-county area that includes the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg metro region, has netted a series of successes that help limousine operators circulate better:

  • The WFLA worked with the Hillsborough County Transportation Commission to establish an approved vehicle list to operate vehicles in the county. It also joined with a local Hyundai dealer to get its vehicles added to the list.
    WFLA members attend all rule workshops and participate in the input of new rules and rule changes.
  • Leaders communicated with the St. Petersburg/Clearwater airport transportation director about new ground transportation fees, resulting in a compromise with staff on allowing operators to pay for general parking without paying fees. Operators who prefer to use a special ground transportation staging area still pay a yearly fee.
  • The group worked with Hillsborough County Transportation Commission and the National Republican Convention Committee in supplying transportation for VIPs and delegates. The event was held with few transportation complaints. The association reported back to members and members of other state associations on special permitting requirements and traffic restrictions that were enforced by the U.S. Secret Service.
  • The WFLA has obtained an Association Port Certificate with the Port of Tampa that allows members who run five or fewer chauffeured vehicles to operate under the group’s certificate. This is saves each member $250, and helps attract many new members.
  • Association leaders also attend the county meetings when new companies are applying for permits and offer complimentary passes to their first meeting. Board members make calls to local companies that are not members.
  • Prior to the Republican National Convention in August 2012, the WFLA met with the HCTC and representatives from Uber to make sure the mobile app-based transportation provider followed the same county and special events rules as chauffeured transportation operators.

Such direct results that benefit limousine operators has yielded a stable membership base since 2007, when it had 38 members. It listed 34 members in 2012, which represents about 25% of all legal operators on the West Coast of Florida. Founded in 2001, the WFLA is the successor the Tampa Bay Limousine Association. It also belongs to the National Limousine Association, where WFLA vice president Dave Shaw is a member of the board of directors.
“As of now, there are no major serious issues,” Shaw said. “We’ve gone through workshops with [HCTC] on permitting and changes of rules. If there are any issues, we have an open door policy and a very good relationship.”

WFLA leaders also report back to members on regulatory body meetings, since smaller operators often don’t have time to attend such meetings and would not always be aware of rules changes, permits and special events, Shaw said.

The WFLA also helped set up the Orlando Limousine Association, which represents Central Florida operators, since downtown Tampa and Orlando lie about 100 miles apart, said Shaw, the operations and affiliate manager for Olympus Limousine of New Port Richey, where he also serves as a company director. “After we got a list of approved vehicles that could be permitted in Hillsborough County, the city of Orlando wanted a list too,” Shaw said. “We had the WFLA help the OLA to go to the city of Orlando and get most of their [chauffeured] cars permitted.”

Going forward, the WFLA plans to work on one key goal for the next few years: Get the Florida state legislature to approve a state livery license plate program modeled after a similar program in New Jersey that was pursued by the Limousine Associations of New Jersey.

FASTFACTS: West Florida Livery Association

  • Location: Tampa Bay Region, Fla.
  • Counties served: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Manatee, and Sarasota
  • Founded: April 17, 2001
  • Officers/leadership: Terry Kurmay, President, (Alpha Limousine); Dave Shaw, Vice President, (Olympus Limo); Jerry Chavez, Treasurer (All Gulfcoast Limousine); Heather Hale, Secretary, (BayArea Corporate Transportation); Directors: Dan Redd (Town & Country Limousine),  Joe Russo (Primetime Limousine), Mike Wagoner (A Signature Limousine); Vendor Director: Vin Tranchina (Marc Motors/Limo Depot).
  • Operator members: 23
  • Vendor members: 6
  • Primary vehicle regulating agency: Hillsborough County Transportation Commission
  • Annual vehicle permit fees: $300 certificate fee plus $350 per vehicle permit fee
  • Permitted certificate holders at Tampa airport: 167
  • Annual association dues: $125
  • Frequency of meetings: Every other month
  • Charities support: Make A Wish Foundation; American Cancer Society
  • Contact: Dave Shaw, (727) 258-1237; [email protected]
  • Website: http://wflatampa.com

Related Topics: Dave Shaw, Florida operators, West Florida Livery Association

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