Monday, March 08, 2021

It was a meeting packed with information for the first Limousine, Bus, and Taxi Operators of Upstate New York (LBTOUNY) event of 2021, as there have been plenty of legislation passed in the state that is impacting businesses. The two-hour meeting, held via Zoom, included about two dozen members from all over the Upstate New York region.

After some housekeeping items from LBTOUNY President Kevin Barwell of Giorgio’s Limousine regarding the state’s mandates on COVID cleaning and safety procedures for businesses, Board member David Brown of Premiere Transportation of Albany gave a rundown on the financial safety nets available to operators, including both rounds of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and $2 billion CERTS funding, which is an upcoming grant that will be available to motorcoach operations in the coming weeks. CERTS is expected to be a competitive program as the definition of which industries qualify is wide-ranging (traditional limousine operators are not included). Many members reported that they have applied for and received funds through the PPP; Brown encouraged all to apply for if they hadn’t done so already.

LBTOUNY

As operators look forward to an increase in business in the near future—and consider bringing back staff to accommodate—the state’s updated paid sick leave regulations could be a new challenge. Brown ran through the major aspects of the law, which went into effect in September 2020 for accrual and could be used by employees as of January 1, 2021, as it applies to both part- and full-time workers and is based on the size of the company. Leave is accrued at a rate not less than one hour per every thirty hours worked. Alternatively, employers may grant the full number of hours at the beginning of the calendar year.

According to guidance from NYS:

  • Employers with 100 or more employees must provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
  • Employers with 5 to 99 employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees and net income of greater than $1 million in the previous tax year are required to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year. 
  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees and net income is $1 million or less in the previous tax year are required to provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per calendar year.

Brown warned that the reason an employee can give to use the time is broad—from illness to providing care for a family member to securing safety in domestic violence situation—and that employers must respect all HIPAA privacy laws in granting that time off. More information about the updated regulations can be found here.

Additionally, the state requires that employees receive sexual harassment prevention training upon hire, and all current employees should have already completed the training, with updates annually. Barwell warned that the state most likely will be cracking down on businesses and assessing fines, especially as it’s hurting for revenue, so he urged members to make sure that they are up to date and are keeping meticulous records. He also noted that tickets for passengers not wearing masks or seat belts in vehicles have become more frequent, and advised that all companies ensure that chauffeurs are diligent in enforcing.

Next up, LBTOUNY Board Director David Bastian of Towne Livery shared some FAQs on DOT regulations. Members noted that there have been some discrepancies between the passenger count assessed by the DOT and registering the vehicle through the Department of Motor Vehicles, which could cause some gray area for CDL requirements. The state now includes the driver in the passenger count. Bastian also encouraged all operators to keep an eye on the NYS Assembly website for bills specific to limousines, as the legislative effects from the Schoharie crash are still lingering.

Mark Crisafulli from Haylor, Freyer & Coon provided updates on the insurance market for N.Y. operators. He noted that many insurers are limiting the age of limousines that they will insure—often no older than 12 or 15 years. He thinks this may hasten the retirement of limousines in a part of the state that still regularly uses them. Crisafulli also warned that the excess insurance market is tightening in the state, which could make it difficult to ensure those limousines with a $5 million policy, and that several insurers are defaulting to full coverage if COVID-suspended vehicles are used more frequently, often more than seven times per month.

Members are eager to once again meet in person, although Barwell thinks the first in-person event won’t likely happen until the association’s annual August baseball meeting. The next meeting is expected in late spring, possibly in April or May.

Visit lbtony.com for more information and updates.

[03.03.21]

Keep yourself informed and connected to other members of the industry by attending these important virtual meetings.

UMA

United Motorcoach Association
Weekly Town Hall
3/4
 at 2:00 p.m. ET online (registration required)

MCTA

Minnesota Chauffeured Transportation Association
March membership meeting with special guests from the MN District Office of the SBA
3/4 at 2:30 p.m. CT via Zoom or visit its Facebook page for more info



NLA

National Limousine Association
**NEW DATE** for its health insurance livestream with host NLA President Robert Alexander and guest Terry Gorman of World Insurance Associates
3/5 at 2:00 p.m. ET on the NLA’s Facebook page

Did we miss your association meeting? Let us know! Email susan@chauffeurdriven.com or rob@chauffeurdriven.com to be included in our calendar.

[03.02.21]

International Women’s Day is March 8, and the American Bus Association’s Women in Buses Council (WIB) will celebrate gender equality all month long with multiple events planned. Industry supporters are invited to join Women in Buses for its Webinar Wednesdays, International Women’s Day series, and monthly Meet and Eat, all of which are aimed at celebrating women’s leadership and accomplishments throughout travel, tourism, and the motorcoach industries.

American Bus Association

Inspired by previous WIB guests sharing their own organization's International Women’s Day celebration and events, the council created the International Women’s Day series as part of the spring WIB education series. These events will including fireside chat-style interviews with female executives in many different sectors of the travel industry including the airline, cruise line, hotel, and motorcoach industries. Interviews will showcase female industry leaders' success stories, ongoing opportunities for the next generation, and advice on the industry going forward.

As part of the month-long celebration, WIB will also share the stories and faces of WIB members through social media.

The upcoming events include:
March 8 – Shruti Ghandi Buckley, Global Head of Hampton Brand by Hilton
March 9 – Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President/CEO of Celebrity Cruise Lines
March 10 – Diana Birkett Rakow, Vice President Public Affairs and Sustainability of Alaska Airlines
March 11 – Pat Ziska of MCI; Ryhan Cornell of ABC Companies; Cam Morris of Hale Transportation and ABA Board member; and Diana Jimenez of DATTCO
You can register for these events here

Additionally, the WIB Webinar Wednesdays throughout March include:
March 3 – Erin Francis-Cumming of Destinations Analyst – One Year into the Pandemic
March 17 – Leading Women of ABA and Women in Buses
March 31 – Leading Women of Industry Associations
Register here.  

Events are open to anyone who supports the mission of Women in Buses.

For a full listing of upcoming ABA events, click here.

[03.02.21]