While the numbers are hard to pin down, the reality is drivers don't make much when factoring out overhead costs.
NORTH HAMPTON, N.H. — Since Regal Limousine added a trolley to its fleet in early June, it has booked enough business to make it a promising addition.
The Supreme trolley, a used Victorian-style street car built on a heavy truck chassis, cost less than $50,000 used, said Paul Ford, senior vice president of Regal, a 37-vehicle chauffeured transportation company that serves a region that includes the New Hampshire cities of North Hampton, Amherst and Manchester, and the greater Boston area. A new trolley costs about $120,000.
“We got ours gently used to see if there is a market for it,” Ford told LCT. “Apparently there is. People in the bridal business have been telling us that we ought to look into trolley because they are popular. We heard so much of it.”
So far, Regal has handled about 20 group clients on the 26-passenger trolley, split about evenly between wedding parties and corporate outings. Regal does not put advertising placards on the sides.
“There are so many trolleys in New England on municipal routes that are littered with ads on the side,” Ford said. “Brides don’t use advertisements.”
The rates on the Regal trolley are $150 per hour with a three-hour minimum. Weddings command a flat rate of $600 plus a 20% gratuity for the chauffeur for three and a half hours of service. “The bride and groom can have the whole wedding party with them from the point of pick-up, to the photos [location], to the reception,” Ford said.
Exact financial figures on the trolley’s overhead, revenues and profits are not yet available given its brief time in the fleet, but Ford said the experiment already looks viable and likely to generate consistent profits.
Regal operates its trolley year-round whereas most others in the region take bookings only from May 1 to Nov. 1, Ford said. That’s because the Regal trolley has convertible windows that can pop out in fair weather, and it has heating and A/C. Regal already has four reservations booked for the Trolley between New Year’s Eve and April 1, 2012.
Regal bought the Trolley a few months after starting a para-transit division with the addition of a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van on April 20. LCT article on Regal Limousine para-transit van here.
— Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine
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