Regulations

Groups Find Unity In Numbers

Tom Halligan
Posted on August 9, 2016

LCT East Coast editor Tom Halligan and LANJ executive director Patty Nelson. The key to success for an association is to be very organized, Nelson says.
LCT East Coast editor Tom Halligan and LANJ executive director Patty Nelson. The key to success for an association is to be very organized, Nelson says.
Throughout the summer, many associations take a break from their regular meeting agendas and venues and hold fun events such as barbeques, outings, and baseball games to relax and network with fellow operators.

This summer these events also underscore a sense of urgency among association boards of directors to increase membership and raise money to fight illegal TNCs in their local areas, which are often better funded.

The groups are raising money to hire lobbyists to counter the lobbying teams of TNCs embedded in every state, retain lawyers to file lawsuits against TNCs operating illegally in cities, airports and ports, or fund public relations campaigns to alert customers about the risks of riding in TNCs compared to chauffeured cars and taxicabs.

For associations, it has been a long, time-consuming, and expensive fight as boards and members lobby their representatives, present testimony at hearings, and file briefs supporting the industry’s position. They are working the media to voice concerns about TNCs that disregard rules and regulations to protect the public.

It can be exhausting for those operators in the trenches who give up much of their time to engage politicians and counter punch every move and tactic TNCs use to sway legislators and public opinion.

It also takes a lot of money. Associations nationwide constantly ask members for cash or add special dues assessments to raise funds to hire professional lobbyists and public relations firms to counter the deep-pockets of TNCs. The Illinois Limousine Association (ILA) in June approved an assessment to each member company of $20 per vehicle owned or dispatched to help fund $25,000 in legal fees to fight pro-TNC regulations. But it’s hard to constantly ask small operators to reach into their pockets, or rely on big companies to foot the bill.

We believe that strength in numbers is good for the industry, says John Salmon, LILA membership director.
We believe that strength in numbers is good for the industry, says John Salmon, LILA membership director.
Netting New Members
Associations are realizing more often that recruiting new members and sponsors can enhance group unity while raising more money. For example, the Limousine Association of New Jersey (LANJ) two years ago established a membership committee that has worked to increase membership by 50% in two years.

“The key to the success of LANJ is that we have become very organized and the membership committee meets once a month by conference call and you can see their recruitment efforts have been significant in growing the association in just two years,” said Patty Nelson, who was hired as LANJ executive director in 2014. Launching new member benefits and resources aids in recruiting new members, she added.

Increased membership dues help fund the association’s lobbying firms that have been busy battling TNCs statewide, she said. In addition, LANJ also has strong support from more than 40 industry suppliers who attend meetings.

The Long Island Limousine Association (LILA) is another group focused on growing membership to counter TNCs. LILA’s new membership director, John Salmon (Salmon Limousine Service, Long Island, N.Y.), said the group is working hard to reach out to operators by offering “fast track” member applications and a $20 incentive for every existing member that recruits a new operator.

“We believe that strength in numbers is good for the industry and we think there are at least 50 operators out there who we can recruit to join the association,” Salmon said. “The fast track membership just makes it easier for operators to become members without being bogged down in paperwork if they are licensed by the TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission).”

In addition, LILA is launching new programs such as chauffeur training and a gala black tie awards banquet in January. “There are so many benefits to joining an association, as well as networking for farm-out business with other operators,” Salmon said.

Tom Halligan is LCT East Coast editor, based in Marlton, N.J. He travels regularly to industry association meetings in the eastern U.S. Tom can be reached at [email protected]

Related Topics: LANJ, limo associations, Limousine Association of New Jersey, long island limousine association, state regulations, TNCs, Tom Halligan, Uber

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
The City of Chicago has implemented some of the strictest regulations in the industry that by all accounts was completely misguided despite repeated input from and meetings with members of the Illinois Limousine Association (ILA). (Creative Commons photo)
Article

Chicago Micromanages Party Buses

SEPT. LCT: Amid accidents, deaths, injuries, and skyrocketing insurance premiums, operators are chafing under a web of strict new rules.