Operations

Canadian Operator Keeps Island Capital City Connected

Martin Romjue
Posted on February 14, 2013
L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services co-owners/operators Ed and Kyara Kahakauwila won the 2012 LCT Global Operator of the Year Award during last year’s International LCT Show.

L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services co-owners/operators Ed and Kyara Kahakauwila won the 2012 LCT Global Operator of the Year Award during last year’s International LCT Show.

L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services co-owners/operators Ed and Kyara Kahakauwila won the 2012 LCT Global Operator of the Year Award during last year’s International LCT Show.
L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services co-owners/operators Ed and Kyara Kahakauwila won the 2012 LCT Global Operator of the Year Award during last year’s International LCT Show.

VICTORIA, B.C. — This provincial capital in the heart of the Pacific Northwest has a climate and countryside distinctly different from sunny, congested, dry Los Angeles.Yet L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services thrives with its dynamic moniker, as it refers to company lore. In 1992, co-owner Edison Kahakauwila bought his first 120-inch stretch limousine from Los Angeles.

At the time, there was a promotion that he was running with a local radio station for La Batts Beer. The catch was (on the air): La Game, La Girl, La Limo, La Beer. The name fit the market of a new generation of customers, and Edison branded the company locally so when people think of a limo, they remember “LA Limo.”

What is unique about chauffeured services in your nation compared to the U.S.?
With Canada’s close proximity to the U.S., the general use and delivery of chauffeured services is similar but governance differs. Within Canada the industry is very regulated. This also includes the vehicles that are allowed into the country. We do employ several bi-lingual chauffeurs to personalize the experience for clients who travel from other parts of Canada and countries where English is not the first language.

What are key challenges of your service area/region?
One is geography. Victoria (on Vancouver Island) is often mistaken for Vancouver (the city). Between midnight and 5 a.m., there is no connection to the mainland from the island via air or ferries. The need to be diligent with flight connections is also a challenge as Victoria’s International Airport (YYJ) is often a connected route the main hub of Vancouver. Passengers who are delayed may not realize that a car must be dispatched 45 minutes prior to an incoming 15-minute connection to YYJ (28 km north of the city). Regulations in the Province impose a challenge for managing additional vehicles or even a simple rate change.  

What qualities do you look for in a U.S. affiliate?
We prefer to meet affiliates through meetings such as the International LCT Show. Operators who attend these and other events tend to have the core qualities that align with our own. This allows us to create a personal connection. We look at what our clients’ needs may be and work with affiliates that can meet that expectation.

What specific rules or procedures do U.S. affiliates need to be aware of?
Understand that charter rates in many parts of Canada are regulated and are higher than the U.S.

What are your primary business challenges?
The loss of the traditional style livery sedan; managing costs as we add new vehicles, staff and adjust to the higher costs of service delivery.

What are your top-rented chauffeured vehicles?
The backbone was the traditional Town Car. We are now transitioning to the new MKT and Lexus E series sedan. Also the Lincoln Navigator L and the Mercedes Sprinter for larger group needs.

Who are your typical clients?
The business travel market which includes incentive travel. We also have written contracts with our Fairmont hotel and others as their provider of choice for their guests. We service a large part of the retail market in Victoria (stretch limousines, SUVs and limo buses).

How much has your company grown since 2006?
Our growth has been consistent. Fleet composition also has changed to meet market needs with a 30% expansion in vehicles. Our gross revenues have doubled since 2006.

What does your chauffeur training program involve?
Chauffeur training is a cornerstone to our clients experience and safety. We screen in advance prior to an in-person interview with a driving skills test. We use the NLA driving course video and require a full background check, processes guided by managers and senior chauffeurs.

What are the future plans for your company?
Our plans are to continue to develop industry relationships that will foster steady growth into worldwide servicing; changes in our fleet that will allow expanded use of fuel efficient vehicles; technology enhancements (in office and in vehicle).

FASTFACTS: L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services

  • Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
  • Founded: 1989 (as Limo Looks)
  • Owners: Edison & Kyara Kahakauwila
  • Main service regions: Victoria, B.C. and southern Vancouver Island
  • Vehicle types: sedans, SUVs, vans, limousines, SUV limousines, limo buses
  • Overall fleet size: 20 vehicles
  • Total employees: 30
  • Annual revenues: N/A
  • Website: www.lalimo.ca and www.luxurywinetours.ca    
  • Contact: [email protected]; (250) 391-9000; (888) 933-5466

Related Topics: Canadian Operators, Global Operator, Global operators, international, Kyara Kahakauwila, LCTFast40, Operator of the Year Awards, operator profiles

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