- Category: Industry News
GCLA President Kevin Illingworth was among those who attended last year’s inaugural event, as well as national legislative days in Washington, D.C., both of which he found to be invaluable experiences. “I’ve learned so much from doing this at the national level and at the state level. It’s helped me be more knowledgeable about what we need to do to be better operators and to compete,” he says.
Gregg Cook and Rob Grossglauser of Government Affairs Consulting, both of whom are lobbyists for the GCLA, have arranged for the association to meet with the four State Legislative Policy Committees that directly impact the livery industry: the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce; the Assembly Transportation Commission; the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee; and the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.
The day will focus on legally operating transportation companies’ concerns about the safety and regulatory issues presented by TNCs, as well as the association’s concerns about SB109 and SB611. Members who have submitted the names of their regional representatives will have an opportunity to meet with them on an individual basis.
“It’s about making our representatives aware of what’s going on in our industry and vocalizing it from different areas, from San Diego all the way up to Northern California,” Illingworth said. “We saw what a difference it made when we went last year. Our lobbyists were reacting to the power of the people.”
The next GCLA membership meeting will be February 10.
Visit gcla.org for more information.
- Category: Industry News
Before leaving office January 8, one of the last initiatives that outgoing Massachusetts Governor Davel Patrick ushered in was formally recognizing TNCs as legal modes of transportation in the state, as long as they’re in accordance with new regulations.
The state’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will now act as the licensing authority over the likes of Uber and Lyft, who must obtain TNC Certifications to operate and whose drivers are permitted to offer commercial transportation with proof of personal—not commercial—insurance. Drivers also must be at least 21 years old, in possession of a valid driver’s license, and comply with the DPU requirements.
“These regulations validate TNCs to drive on personal license plates but a few months ago, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Insurance put out a warning to drivers and passengers that it is illegal in the state for people to conduct commercial ground transportation on personal insurance,” says NELA CEO Rick Szilagyi. “TNCs have been turning their backs on that decision. Insurance companies haven’t changed their minds.”
Szilagyi says that the hearings were “extremely heated,” and many of the area’s taxi drivers delivered emotional testimonies on behalf of their livelihood. With thousands of Uber drivers alone operating in the greater Boston area, the taxicab industry has been hit especially hard by the oncoming wave of TNCs.
“Someone said that, on average, taxi drivers in Boston are bringing home $40 a day,” Szilagyi says. “They’re being destroyed.”
The December 31 hearing also saw a few testimonies from the chauffeured ground transportation industry: Szilagyi spoke on behalf of NELA; Fogarty testified for both TLPA and the Massachusetts-based American headquarters of Tristar Worldwide; and NELA board member Gina Walker of North Shore Shuttle/BeDriven.com represented her companies.
NELA is now seeking to engage lobbyists and joining forces with the Massachusetts Regional Taxi Advisory (MRTA) group, as well as working with The Nolan Group, which is the PR firm that MRTA is currently utilizing. The association currently has two missions for the near future, according to Szilagyi: exploring any options to stop the regulations that have been put in place, and determining its course for the future.
“The real thing that Patrick did is not regulation but rather is essentially deregulation because the result would be, why would a taxi driver want to shoulder the costs and burdens of being a taxi driver when he or she could be a TNC driver?” Szilagyi says. “The regulation lets them do business as they’re currently doing business, which isn’t right. If it stands, it has the potential of deregulating taxi and livery.”
Visit nelivery.org for more information.
- Category: Industry News
Kristina Bouweiri wrapped up a stellar year being recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of the Most Admired CEOs in the Washington, D.C., area. The award was presented at a black-tie event held at The Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C. on December 11.
Bouweiri, who has been at the helm of Reston Limousine for two decades, is no stranger to kudos by her community. She has been honored by her local D.C. Chamber of Commerce as Business Leader of the Year and named one of Washington SmartCEO’s Top 100 CEOs, to name just a few. In 2014, she oversaw revenue growth of nearly 20 percent by combining major contract awards with a healthy expansion in leisure business such as wine tours, brewery tours, and weddings.
Visit restonlimo.com for more information.