Thursday, October 01, 2020

The National Limousine Association (NLA) recently updated its dues structure, which includes monthly installments based on number of vehicles. In an effort to provide NLA members more flexibility, the NLA Board of Directors has approved updates that will allow members different payment options when joining/renewing.

NLA

The new dues structure was detailed during a Facebook Live event on Tuesday, August 25, with NLA President Robert Alexander and Bill Faeth of Limo University hosting. The changes, spearheaded by the Membership Committee, were detailed by committee co-chair Douglas Schwartz of Executive Ground Transportation.

“We want everyone in this industry to be successful. We’ve made a lot of steps toward [this] to date, but it doesn’t stop now,” Alexander said during the Facebook Live session, adding that he and the NLA Board are committed to making improvements. “If nothing else, I hope that in the past six months we’ve proven that the NLA is for everybody."

NLA

During the critical early days of the pandemic, NLA offered its resources to every operator in the industry, regardless of membership status, in order to share information. Among its efforts, NLA has launched best practices for cleaning in its Hygiene Protocol (in conjunction with the Global Virus Network), a customizable video for customers called When It Matters, daily updates from its lobbying firm Cornerstone, discounts with affinity partners (aren’t we all looking to save cash right now?), and a revitalized creed that focuses on inclusivity.

Education is also a big focus of the NLA’s agenda, especially for smaller operators who make up the majority of the industry. Schwartz, who also serves on the CD/NLA Show Education Committee, spoke about the upcoming virtual event that the association and magazine are currently putting together. The event—featuring educational sessions and a networking component—is expected to take place in November, and more details will be coming soon. Faeth has also been extremely active in engaging operators since the beginning of the shutdown through his Limo Growth group and frequent Facebook videos.

Starting on September 1, members who join/renew can:
1. Pay their yearly dues in 12 monthly installment payments
2. Pay their yearly dues in full and receive a one-month discount

New memberships will be valid for one year from the date of the first dues payment. If members choose to opt into monthly installments, they will be automatically charged each month. 

All current active members will continue to have an expiration of December 31 each year. All membership information can be found in members' profile on limo.org

The full Facebook Live announcement can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/BillFaeth/videos/10223027921236938

All membership inquiries regarding new memberships, renewals, and dues payment options can be sent to info@limo.org

 

[08.31.20]

FTA COVID-19 resource page FTA's dedicated COVID-19 resource page

The Federal Transit Administration recently debuted its FTA COVID-19 Recovery Discussion Forum, a portal where transit agencies can post questions or ideas about best practices in keeping passengers safe. While it’s intended for transit agencies and not necessarily chauffeured transportation, the questions and answers can provide some valuable insight and even advice into how public transportation is managing the virus with their passengers. Good ideas can come from anywhere, right? The forum can be accessed here: https://usdot.uservoice.com/forums/930736-fta-covid-19-recovery-discussion-forum

The Federal Transit Administration

The forum was launched in conjunction with the FTA’s Recovery Listening Sessions, a webinar series that tackles topics such as Maintaining Healthy Operations and Keeping Transit Workers Safe and Supporting the Health, Safety, and Confidence of Transit Riders. The next webinar, Managing Vehicles and Facilities in a New Service Environment, will take place September 24.  Other upcoming topics include: Innovations in Restoring Passenger Confidence and Managing COVID-19 Operational Considerations (October 2020), Value-Added Services for Public Transportation as Communities Recover (November 2020), and Understanding and Addressing Changing Rider Needs (December 2020). Registration is required here, which includes access to previous session recordings.

Visit the FTA’s dedicated COVID-19 resource page for more information.

 

[08.28.20]

Category 4 Hurricane Laura hits landfall August 27 400 buses provide evacuation assistance as Hurricane Laura makes landfall

Parts of Louisiana and Texas are recovering after Category 4 Hurricane Laura, among the strongest storms to hit the state of Louisiana, made landfall in the early-morning hours of August 27. The storm, with peak winds up to 150 mph, sheered rooves, knocked down telephone poles like twigs, and sadly claimed the lives of four people. While it was a devastating storm, it could have impacted even more people had it hit in Houston or New Orleans, major population centers to the east and west of landfall.

Once weather forecasters knew that the storm was destined to affect the Gulf Coast, the motorcoach industry sprang into action—just as it always does during weather events like this, including the Northern California fires. All in all, the American Bus Association is reporting that more than 400 buses from 130+ companies provided evacuation assistance.

"Each year 600 buses or more are called upon to assist in hurricane response activity in the U.S.  It is their responsibility, not to be taken lightly, to move thousands of people out of harm’s way—from nursing homes, hospitals, senior centers and other facilities—and provide transportation for those who have no other means to evacuate," said ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso.

ABA President Peter Pantuso ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso

During the United Motorcoach Association’s Town Hall on August 27, Mike Moulton of Transportation Management Services detailed his firsthand accounts of what was happening on the ground, noting that just 12 hours after landfall they were already starting to reconnect people with their homes in areas that weren’t as heavily damaged. The coast was still experiencing storm surge. He said that he personally dealt with more 450 buses, representing more than 80 companies.

TMS Mike Moulton Mike Moulton of Transportation Management Systems

COVID-19 and its deleterious effects on the industry did cause a bit of a wrinkle as most bus operations are mostly shut down and drivers furloughed. Companies did have to do a bit of scrambling to ensure that insurance, DOT regulations, and driver certifications were all in place, but Moulton reports that it all came together.

Both associations and its members have been fighting for motorcoach operators as COVID-19 has devastated the U.S. motorcoach industry, including several companies that have shut their doors permanently. Both ABA and UMA have engaged in an outreach campaign that includes securing $10B in loans and grants to the industry via the House’s and Senate’s Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act; holding a rally in Washington, D.C., earlier this summer; and reaching out to the media to showcase the importance of the motorcoach industry. The industry provides vital support for local emergency responders, especially in rural and harder-to-access areas, and Pantuso worries that these efforts could be hampered when vulnerable citizens need help the most.

“When the call comes for help now, this traditional emergency response force relied upon by the federal, state and local governments in these situations is not ready. Now who will answer the call to help evacuate if the buses aren't running?" asks Pantuso. "The industry needs help from Congress to stay alive, to be available during these disasters, to move the military and to get people to jobs. Without Congress' support the motorcoach industry will not recover from the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus. These businesses are closing their doors daily, many of whom would normally answer the call to help evacuate Americans during natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires in California."

Although there has been strong bipartisan support for both the House (H.R.7642) and Senate (S.4150) versions of the CERTS Act, UMA COO Ken Presley reported during the UMA Town Hall that he doesn't think there will be any Congressional action on an overall stimulus/relief package until late September. 

Visit uma.org for more information about UMA. Visit buses.org for more information about ABA.

[08.27.20]