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Big Issues Top Agenda For California Operators

Martin Romjue
Posted on September 4, 2019
The Proud Bird in Los Angeles once again hosts a big GCLA event on Sept. 17, with plenty of limo and bus vehicles stretching into the parking lot. (LCT file photo)

The Proud Bird in Los Angeles once again hosts a big GCLA event on Sept. 17, with plenty of limo and bus vehicles stretching into the parking lot. (LCT file photo)

LOS ANGELES — When members of the Greater California Livery Association hold their late summer meeting on Sept. 17, they could be on the brink of some of the group’s best news in years.

A proposed bill that would require transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft to reclassify their independent contract gig drivers as employees would be the biggest victory to date in getting these ground transportation companies to follow the same rules as charter-party carriers. Assembly Bill 5 is working its way through the State Senate and has drawn favorable comments from Gov. Gavin Newsom. The latest version also exempts traditional contract employees, such as freelance writers, hairdressers, and real estate agents.

“This is all looking very positive,” said Mark Stewart, a GCLA board director who leads the group’s legislative and regulatory affairs. “I’m sure rideshare companies are very worried. It sounds like the Governor could sign off on it as well.”

AB5 will lead the legislative update at the meeting to be held from 5:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. at The Proud Bird near Los Angeles International Airport.

Another pressing regulatory matter is the plan to re-route commercial ground transportation commercial traffic at LAX as the airport in April started a major renovation and expansion project. Under the plan, luxury ground transportation operators and TCP-licensed commercial for-hire vehicles can continue to pick-up arriving passengers on the lower-level CTA loop, while transportation networking companies (TNCs) and taxicabs will have to retrieve their riders on a revamped lot just east of Terminal 1.

Bill Wheeler of Black Tie Transportation in Pleasanton, Calif., will be among the educational speakers at the GCLA meeting. (LCT file photo)

Bill Wheeler of Black Tie Transportation in Pleasanton, Calif., will be among the educational speakers at the GCLA meeting. (LCT file photo)

The plan was supposed to take effect Sept. 3, but has been delayed until mid-to-late October, said Stewart, who has joined other GCLA leaders in meeting with airport officials.

The temporary CTA ground transportation plan established by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), called "LAX-it" as a play on "exit," was disclosed May 15 during the last GCLA meeting.

“An initial issue was the (delayed) timeline for taking delivery of the (shuttle) vehicles and the training for drivers,” Stewart said.

Among other highlights of the meeting:

  • Two California operators, Matt Strack of Strack Ground Transportation in Hawthorne and Bill Wheeler of Black Tie Transportation in Pleasanton, will host an educational session on how to successfully transition from a traditional limousine service to a full ground transportation company that runs mini-buses and motorcoaches. “We wanted to change up the meeting and do a completely different presentation,” Stewart said. “The industry is pushing more into larger vehicles."

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  • Complementing their presentation will be Joe Guinn of Limo & Bus Compliance who will walk attendees through the Department of Transportation compliance rules surrounding all types of buses. Guinn hosted an LCT webinar on ELDs in June 2018.
  • In the tradition of the GCLA’s fall meetings, which were previously billed as vehicle expos, the group will host a higher-than-usual number of limousine, luxury, bus, and motorcoach vehicle displays from leading manufacturers and coachbuilders in the parking lot of The Proud Bird. Displays open at 5:30 p.m.

The GCLA, which has about 220 members, is expecting a strong turnout, especially given the group’s appeal to out-of-state operators and members and its influence on legislation that affects the wider industry.

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Related Topics: Bill Wheeler, California operators, employee vs independent contractor, GCLA, Greater California Livery Association, labor laws, legislation, Lyft, Mark Stewart, Matthew Strack, motorcoaches, state regulations, TNCs, Uber

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