- Category: Industry News
Richmond, Va. — The Virginia Limousine Association (VLA) is urging its state Senate and House of Delegates to make substantial changes to legislation that establishes rules for TNCs to operate in Virginia. The Senate Transportation Committee approved a measure January 21 that will advance to Senate; a similar bill currently awaits consideration in the House of Delegates.
“Senate Bill 1025, as currently written, creates a terribly unfair playing field,” VLA President Paul Walsh of Superior Executive Transportation said in a press release. “It dramatically increases the costs for traditional limousine companies by requiring as much as a $100,000 license fee for any company wanting to operate as a TNC in Virginia. This is fine for Uber and Lyft that have billions of dollars in Silicon Valley backing, but not for mom-and-pop firms here in Virginia that have much higher insurance and taxes, which they must pay.”
According to Walsh, the alleged purpose of the license fee is to fund DMV’s regulatory and enforcement costs of TNC legislation. “But a one-size-fits-all fee of $100,000 precludes almost, if not all, but a handful of the existing 700-plus licensed passenger carrier companies in the state of Virginia from any chance to compete,” he said.
Licensing fees of $50 per vehicle would fairly fund the legislation just as well without favoring the large TNC companies, according to VLA Secretary Randy Allen of James Limousine Service. But Allen adds that the committee removed that option at the request of Uber and Lyft because it would harm their business models by imposing costs on drivers who may not be able to pay it. TNC drivers use their own personal vehicles, so they do not pay the full car tax under Virginia law; because limousine companies operate commercial vehicles, however, they receive no such break.
VLA also contends that long-operating TNCs elsewhere in the country are luring drivers from legally operating companies by promising higher pay but not necessarily standing by their word or disclosing the full cost of being a “partner company.”
“The TNC business model and actual practice in community after community forces drivers to work longer and longer hours, as rates paid by the passengers go down and commissions charged by the TNC companies to the drivers go up,” said Glenn Stafford of Love Limousine, the legislative liaison for VLA. “Virginia is not aware of the damage being done across America and why states like California and New York are taking second looks at the laws they passed regulating TNCs.”
Walsh says the limousine companies are dispirited and angry about the rush to action and lack of consideration to the impact SB 1025 and companion bill HB 1662 could have. “It is hard to fight the big California money and the politics,” he said. “We are counting on the good people in the House and Senate to stop this steamroller before it’s too late for our members.”
- Category: Industry News
The inaugural event will be chock-full of learning opportunities, all of which relate back to assembling and fostering a top-notch team to elevate your company’s level of customer service, as well as enhancing your own leadership skills. On Monday, Kristen Carroll of The LMC Group and Grace Limousine and Brett Tyson of BostonCoach will co-present a workshop on recruiting and retaining high-quality staff, especially chauffeurs. These two industry veterans will utilize proven methods and strategies to help you not only find, employ, and hold on to the kind of individuals you want on your staff but also learn how to be a better leader.
Both of Tuesday’s in-depth, two-hour presentations come directly from The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, with “Leadership and Employee Engagement” starting up right after breakfast and “Memorable Customer Service” following lunch—and who better than the customer-service professionals at The Ritz-Carlton to help you learn how to engage your employees while instilling in them the leadership principles that will put your company ahead of the rest? You can see for yourself the kind of high-quality education we’re packing into the retreat’s second day: Learn more about “Leadership and Employee Engagement” by clicking here and “Memorable Customer Service” by clicking here.
As many business owners in the industry know, first-rate training from the likes of The Ritz-Carlton can often be cost-prohibitive; at our retreat, you can bring any member of your staff demonstrating a leadership mentality to reap the benefits this event offers.
Following Monday’s workshop, we’ll embark upon a private tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum—which is seamlessly integrated into the Omni Hotel. Then it’s off to the Hall of Fame Rotunda for drinks and a BBQ dinner before enjoying an exclusive concert in the Ford Theater—or what the Country Music Hall of Fame refers to as its state-of-the-art living room.
After The Ritz-Carlton’s second training session on Tuesday, get ready for a whirlwind tour of Nashville. Take in some of Music City’s most iconic sights and sounds when you visit Music Row, Riverfront Park, Broadway, Ryman Auditorium, the full-scale replica Parthenon, stars’ homes, and much more. The remainder of the evening will be spent enjoying a honky-tonk crawl along Broadway, where we’ll be making stops at well-known watering holes such as Robert’s, Stage, Legends Corner, Whiskey Bent, and Silver Dollar Saloon. And if that’s not enough, we’ll mosey on over to Lynchburg on Wednesday to tour the Jack Daniel’s Distillery to cap off the retreat.
With nearly 50 operators already registered, the retreat is almost a quarter full—and 2015 is only two weeks old. Once we have 50 registrants, the price of admission goes up. Call (856) 334-1988 for more information or to make sure you have a spot in our June 22-24 Executive Retreat.
- Category: Industry News
"Going undercover was a unique experience to get an unobstructed view of our company and see how we can improve," says Seelinger. "EmpireCLS has grown in leaps and bounds, and it was important to me to connect with our employees and learn how the growth we've experienced has impacted them, our brand, and our clients."
EmpireCLS provides luxury, chauffeured transportation services throughout the world for Fortune 1000 companies, five-star hotel brands, VIPs, dignitaries, and the entertainment/music industry elite, driving nearly one million guests each year.
An entrepreneur with a passion for hospitality and a love for motorcycles, Seelinger has been responsible for the direction and growth of EmpireCLS, formerly Empire International, since 1990. He developed the company's global affiliate network, proprietary reservation system, and, in 2005, merged with one of its largest competitors, CLS Transportation, creating the largest transaction of its kind in the ground transportation industry.
Seelinger stresses that the opportunity to go undercover as a chauffeur, dispatch specialist, fleet inspection manager, and affiliate chauffeur has been "invaluable," learning new ways to improve and expand the EmpireCLS brand. After sharing his finding with EmpireCLS leaders, the company is implementing several initiatives to simplify company processes, stay connected with its employees, and ensure their needs are addressed.
"Admittedly, I've been out of touch with some aspects of our business," says Seelinger, "but EmpireCLS wouldn't be the company it is today without its hardworking employees—making sure their needs are fulfilled is a priority and important lesson I took away from this experience."
Visit empirecls.com for more information.