Operations

Florida Associations Fight For Level Playing Field

Tom Halligan
Posted on February 22, 2017
Less than a year old, the Central Florida Livery Association is making headway looking out for operator interests. Far right, CFLA President Wendy Kleefisch, and members gather at their Feb. 14 Valentine’s Day-themed meeting.
Less than a year old, the Central Florida Livery Association is making headway looking out for operator interests. Far right, CFLA President Wendy Kleefisch, and members gather at their Feb. 14 Valentine’s Day-themed meeting.
BOCA RATON, Fla. --- Florida Limousine Association(FLA) President Rick Versace has 11 different decals on his vehicles in order to do business in the corridor stretching along Florida’s Southeast coast. “It costs me thousands of dollars for registration with various municipalities and ancillary fees,” said Versace, owner of A1A Airport & Limousine Service in Boca Raton.

That’s burdensome enough, but what really makes Versace irate is proposed legislation swirling around Tallassee that would allow TNCs to operate anywhere in the state free of any local or county registration or fees. “The bill will supersede any local regulations in the state and allow TNCs to operate in all 67 counties by just registering with the state,” he explained.

The bill (House Bill 221), by a 21-1 vote passed the House Government Accountability Committee, Tuesday, Feb. 21, paving the way for a House floor vote (a companion bill is in the Senate, but no movement as of yet).

The bill does establish minimum insurance requirements ($50,000 for death or bodily injury/$100,000 per incident), level one background checks (no fingerprinting), and vehicle and driver registration with the state.

Versace said the FLA is working on a strategy to counter the bill, but commented he foresees issues at airports where TNCs (without any vehicle identification) can run wild, while limousine companies can get a fine up to $2,000 for being in the wrong zone. “Maybe we all should just declare ourselves TNCs because we all use apps and just skip all the regulations and fees (a source of revenue for municipalities that will be lost) I really don’t think [legislators] know what they are doing,” he said.

These are custom CFLA-branded oreos dipped in dark and milk chocolate compliments of Rental Limo and Book.limo. They were created by Peterbrook Chocolatier in Winter Haven, Fla. The platter also featured strawberries, pretzels, and popcorn all dipped in milk or dark chocolate. (photo courtesy of Rental Limo)
These are custom CFLA-branded oreos dipped in dark and milk chocolate compliments of Rental Limo and Book.limo. They were created by Peterbrook Chocolatier in Winter Haven, Fla. The platter also featured strawberries, pretzels, and popcorn all dipped in milk or dark chocolate. (photo courtesy of Rental Limo)
Central Florida Association Makes Headway

Central Florida Livery Association (CFLA) President Wendy Kleefisch (Brevard Executive Limousine) was named to the Port Canaveral Authority Advisory Board.

Her appointment bodes well for regional operators who now have an industry representative seated on the board that can ensure industry concerns are addressed at the rapidly growing port.

“Port Canaveral is now the largest port in the U. S. with seven cruise ships servicing 350,000 passengers, and is growing,” said Kleefisch. Issues such as port, registration, and in-out fees, TNC fairness, and other rules and regulations are top of mind with Kleefisch regarding private ground transportation.

Rental Limo / Book.limo CEO Named To Group Board

In other news, the CFLA, which launched in 2016, has seen increasing membership and named its first vendor member to the Board of Directors. Ryan Hilberth, CEO of St. Petersburg-based Rental Limo was unanimously elected to the board.

Kleefisch noted Hilberth’s addition as a vendor director is an “initiative to build up CFLA benefits for members, while also improving CFLA membership as a whole.”

Said Hilberth, “I am honored and elated for the opportunity to serve the CFLA by providing leadership, valuable feedback, and added value to members.”

Related Topics: central florida livery association, FLA, Florida Limousine Association, Florida operators, limo associations, Rental Limo, Rick Versace, Ryan Hilberth, state regulations, TNCs, Wendy Kleefisch

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