JAN. LCT: Part 2: Once you’ve got the big bus, you’ll need to reorganize your operation since the requirements of running them vary greatly from those of minicoaches.
Leandro Pires, president of Royal American Worldwide Limousine, and Rogério De Nadai, commercial director of Five Transportes Brazil, both headquartered in São Paulo, are experienced in handling transportation for large events like this. Both companies provide a variety of fleet vehicles, and service in cities worldwide.
De Nadai says in the seven years his company has been serving the limousine market, they have provided transportation to and from Formula 1 events, the 2014 World Cup, and concert events like Tomorrowland and Carnaval. Pires’ company also worked the World Cup, as well as the 2015 Annual Meeting for the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund in Lima, Peru.
On Your Mark, Get Set, Go
“We count on our dedicated team of consultants, coordinators, and chauffeurs to be in charge of all reservations made specifically for the event dates,” De Nadai says. “During this period, many routes will change. To make our costumers’ transportation more efficient, all authorizations have been signed according to the Rio de Janeiro’s traffic authority. We also have a coordination team, which is instructed to update our drivers about the best routes to take and set strategic meeting points during the event.”
After working the World Cup, Pires has taken all he has learned and will apply it to this event. “The Olympics will be a much easier event to provide transportation for, especially because Rio is one place we have more resources.”
Since the start of this year, the company has opened a few satellite offices, where it trains staff and chauffeurs. It’s also contracted with car rental companies to ensure enough vehicles to meet demand. The company will tap its most experienced chauffeurs who know how to navigate Rio. “We constantly make sure our chauffeurs have had background checks,” Pires adds.
The mountainous region will compress traffic and make it harder to move around. “We will be alerted to road closures a few days in advance,” he says. “We’ve anticipated this and are telling clients we will need to know where they intend to be and when ahead of time so we can give them a lot of time to get there.”
Both companies plan to focus on providing world-class service. “By the time the event begins, we expect to have all our vehicles in use and we are able to count on our local affiliates as well,” De Nadai says. “So far, we have confirmed sedans, armored mini-vans, mini-buses and motorcoaches.”
While Pires still sees a healthy demand for transportation, he notes the last minute scramble for service. “Starting last week, we began getting a lot of requests. Many people tend to wait until the last minute. The Zika virus has also been a large problem. Some of the companies we have a very good relationship with have said they will not be attending the event because of it.”
Gold Medal Worthy Service
With the political and economic crisis in Brazil, clients will be looking for a safe ride above all else. “Many VIP clients are specifically looking for body guards and armored vehicles,” Pires says. “We partnered with the BOPE and CORE, which are basically the special police forces in Rio. They are similar to the SWAT in the U.S.”
Chauffeur training plays a big part in being prepared for anything. “We do security coordination for all of the big events,” he says. “We develop routes when we know of the closures. We do a small presentation on customer service a few days before the event and our chauffeurs pass through a day of classes. Our security coordinator tells them what places to avoid. You don’t want to drive to the favela (slum) at 2 am. Most of us who work in the company are from Brazil, so we have good knowledge of the area.”
De Nadai’s company promotes safety by following vehicle locations with GPS tracking and monitoring teams, which will update chauffeurs on the best routes and any changes. The company also will staff vehicles with credentialed escorts to sure clients are safe and content.
“Our chauffeurs are constantly trained with defensive driving courses, and are always working on improving their driving skills,” he adds.
They will have to take a six hour break after they have accepted and made trips with passengers totaling 10 hours.
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