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Operators Air Out A List Of Leading Concerns

Martin Romjue
Posted on June 23, 2017
GCLA executive director Tom Garrett (R) with Robert Vaughan, owner and CEO of Best-VIP Chauffeured Worldwide of Huntington Beach (LCT photo)
GCLA executive director Tom Garrett (R) with Robert Vaughan, owner and CEO of Best-VIP Chauffeured Worldwide of Huntington Beach (LCT photo)

SANTA ANA, Calif. — The GCLA meeting on June 20 was set up like none other. Gone were the podium, microphone, panelist row, stage, admission tickets, and even the dinner buffet sans sneeze guards.

Instead, a group of members and guests sat around a square made up of long tables with a cash bar and snack platter station against the wall of a meeting room in the Embassy Suites in Santa Ana. The simpler, closer format got its intended result: More talk and participation among the 30 attendees.

Operators spent the first hour taking turns talking about their top-of-mind business concerns as GCLA executive director and host Tom Garrett steered the gathering. The meeting was the final one in a regional series the GCLA has hosted for the past month statewide: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Orange County.

The GCLA's new roundtable meeting format got Southern California operators talking about top business and regulatory concerns. (LCT photo)
The GCLA's new roundtable meeting format got Southern California operators talking about top business and regulatory concerns. (LCT photo)
At the Los Angeles meeting June 7, the format consisted of four speaker stations surrounding a networking area of tables and chairs, vendor displays, and appetizer stands that allowed attendees to circulate freely among the stations and mingle with each other.

Garrett said the new meeting formats reflect the group’s goal of increasing engagement and packing more interaction in a shorter time frame, while bringing meetings closer to members. An added bonus: Admission is free thanks to sponsorships and member fees.

Among the concerns aired and batted about the roundtable:

  • Several operators are looking to find stronger, more direct ways to market their businesses that net new clients, especially in the competitive real-time world of Google SEO rankings and social media. “We need help to get to the next level,” one operator said.
  • Those operators running traditional stretch limousines are trying to determine how, when, or even if they will retrofit stretches to comply with a California law requiring a fifth door or two emergency exits that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The other option is to sell a stretch limousine and buy one with a fifth door by Jan. 1. The GCLA has successfully lobbied for delays on the new rule, which originally was supposed to go into effect in July 2015.
  • Several operators are grappling with labor issues, such as accurately documenting meal breaks and overtime, and fending off wage-related lawsuits. California has strict labor laws governing W-2 employees. As one operator put it, trying to tell a group of clients to wait while a chauffeur takes a required 30-min. meal break every five hours on a 10+ hour all-day as-directed trip is impractical and costly. It prompted the question: Should limo companies be de-regulated to allow for more labor flexibility?
  • GCLA board director Mo Garkani, owner/CEO of COTS Group of Long Beach, stressed the importance of operators participating in the GCLA's annual lobbying day in Sacramento and the National Limousine Association's annual Day On The Hill lobbying event in Washington, D.C. Garkani, who just returned from DOH Congressional visits held June 14, said participants speak up for and advocate on behalf of everyone in the industry.
  • The Uber and Lyft related traffic at LAX is out of control, one operator said to wider agreement, which often clogs traffic on the departure loop to the point where some chauffeured clients have missed their flights. It takes longer to get in and out of the airport, eating up valuable fleet time and complicating pick-up schedules.
  • Despite Los Angeles World Airports allowing for electronic transponder-based trip tickets instead of a manual booth check-in, the cost for the service is high for some operators. The thousands of dollars spent to gain the more efficient access is money that cannot be reinvested into an operation, one member pointed out.
  • One company owner worried about the safeguards of company data on various software systems, and whether chauffeurs or employees who leave limo operations could potentially steal the data.
  • Another operator could use some guidance on dealing with SEO help services that supposedly help boost organic Internet searches for businesses. Some vendors take client money and then don’t produce results. How does a busy limo operator tell which services are legitimate and helpful?

Roberta Lacken (L) of GLITZ Limousines in Anaheim was the winner of a $450 all-in full pass to LCT-NLA Show East in Atlantic City Nov. 5-7. She's pictured with GCLA board director Robert Gaskell of Motev and GLITZ co-owner Ian Clarke. (LCT photo)
Roberta Lacken (L) of GLITZ Limousines in Anaheim was the winner of a $450 all-in full pass to LCT-NLA Show East in Atlantic City Nov. 5-7. She's pictured with GCLA board director Robert Gaskell of Motev and GLITZ co-owner Ian Clarke. (LCT photo)
Sponsors with vendor tables included Autosist, an app designed to track and document fleet usage; credit card processor Chosen Payments, whose marketing manager, Jim Luff, held a drawing for a $100 bill; and media guest LCT Magazine, which gave away a $450 all-in pass to the LCT-NLA Show East trade event and conference in Atlantic City Nov. 5-7. The winner was Roberta Lacken, co-owner of GLITZ Limousines, a two-vehicle three-year-old service in Anaheim.

LCT related article: Los Angeles GCLA Meeting Photo Gallery

Related Topics: California operators, GCLA, Greater California Livery Association, industry regulations, LAX, limo associations, state regulations, TNCs

Martin Romjue Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Anthony

     | about 12 months ago

    Uber was kicked out of logan airport because it created chaos for travelers. So at lax a customer paying top $$$ for his executive transfer is now affected by all these gubers Have customer send an invoice to the mayors office requesting compensation for hotel,food,transportation when they have missed their flight due to congestion. The los angeles mayor needs to kick them out of lax since it has become a large parking lot of people waiting for their 7.00 rides !!!!! Gcla should hire a videographer team to document am pm traffic problems and play it at local city meetings..... airport is own by the city... tax payers have a say on the travel problems they are having

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