- Category: Industry News
The National Limousine Association (NLA) returned—in person—to Washington, D.C. for its annual Day on the Hill this September 20-21 where more than 30 operators from 16 states participated. The two-day lobbying event, which gives the nationwide industry a voice with elected representatives, was particularly important due to the proposed legislative changes that could have had a severe impact on operators.
“This event proved that though our industry may be small, our voice is loud. The dedication and passion from the members who joined us makes me that much more excited for next year's event,” said NLA President Robert Alexander of RMA Worldwide in his president’s letter.
The NLA Legislative Committee (co-chaired by Matt Assolin of Nikko’s Worldwide and Brett Barenholtz of Above All Transportation/Boston Car Service) and its lobbying firm Cornerstone Government Affairs identified the top issues facing the industry to discuss with lawmakers and their staff. Topping the list was the bottleneck in processing the Employee Retention Tax Credit as well as a push for the CERTS Tax Exemption Act (H.R.7477), which provided $2 billion in emergency funds to motorcoach and transportation providers during the COVID shutdowns, but was taxable.
The NLA also lobbied for assistance in reducing airline delays and cancellations, primarily due to the lingering pilot and maintenance staff shortages. The delays are not only frustrating for travelers, but have real consequences for our industry via increased wait times and chauffeur scheduling. NLA expressed strong support of the Let Experienced Pilots Fly bill (H.R.8513/S.4607) that would allow commercial airline pilots to continue flying through 67 instead of the current mandatory retirement requirement at 65. To encourage support of the bill, contact your representative or Kaitlin Burt (email@example.com) in Senator Lindsey Graham’s office.
Additionally, worker classification was a hot topic, and the NLA supports the bipartisan Worker Flexibility and Choice Act (H.R.8442), which fixes problems with the current (and confusing) FLSA overtime rule and gives workers more certainty and security about their pay and job status. Given the rise of the gig economy, the bill would define a new classification between employee and independent contractor that would offer the flexibility of being an IC, while also providing some benefits typically given to employees. To encourage support of the bill, contact your representative or Patrick O'Connor with Rep. Henry Cuellar's office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The infrastructure bill passed by Congress earlier this year contained language that would have allowed states to impose a variety of regulations on ground transportation operators, inspired by the limousine crash in Schoharie, N.Y., based on the type of vehicle they operate. Springing into action, the NLA worked closely with the N.Y. delegation to successfully stop a federal 9-passenger CDL requirement as well as mandatory inspections, use of electronic logging devices (ELDs), and disclosures in passenger compartments. New federal regulations for vehicle modifiers were also thwarted.
The NLA also hosted its PAC fundraiser event with Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who Alexander says was engaging and receptive to the challenges the industry is facing. He also thanked the NLA PAC Committee, co-chaired by Matt Assolin of Nikko’s Worldwide and Jeff Rose of Attitude New York, for their work and dedication. Those NLA members who would like to support the PAC with a one-time donation and who have given prior permission to solicit for contributions, can click here. Note that contributions must be made from a personal account.
Alexander expressed appreciation for those who helped to organize the event as well as those who attended.
“I would like to thank the NLA Board of Directors and all of the members who attended this year's event. You all took time away from your businesses and personal lives to support and advocate for our industry. Without your participation, we would not have been nearly as successful,” he said.
Visit limo.org for more information.
- Category: Industry News
A recent survey from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and HRS, the leading global corporate travel and payment technology platform, highlighted how changes in workforce and a faster-than-expected return to travel are transforming managed travel. The survey was conducted in late June and respondents were travel managers and procurement leaders from the US, Canada, and parts of Europe.
According to the research, 54 percent of those surveyed say business travel has rebounded faster than expected, while 77 percent report they are spending more time troubleshooting traveler issues.
“The intersection of employee workplace trends and travel management is quite frenetic these days. These realities spur opportunities for forward-thinking finance, human resource, procurement, and travel leaders,” said HRS CEO Tobias Ragge. “Technologies addressing these trends are being launched and refined, with friction-reducing automation improving the everyday experience for employees. How quickly are you examining which solution best works for your workforce while also maximizing your operational budgets? This is the issue we see more frequently in our corporate engagements this year.”
Return of Corporate Travel Meets the Evolving Composition of Travel Departments
- More than half (54 percent) say the acceleration of business travel’s return has occurred “more quickly” or “much more quickly” than they expected at the beginning of the year.
- Nearly four in five (77 percent) say that they spend “more time” or “much more time” troubleshooting traveler issues. More than half (52 percent) reporting taking “more time” or “much more time” analyzing data.
- When asked what skill set they would seek if they could add a new team member, the convergence between customer service and data expertise is evident. Four in ten (40 percent) said customer service skills are in demand, while 35 percent seek data management expertise.
Reshaping the Office?
- Two-thirds (67 percent) believe that once all their offices are open, hybrid work scenarios will dominate. Only nine percent anticipate that all their colleagues will return to the office full time.
- Two in five respondents (40 percent) report that their companies have reduced their office space.
- Nearly two in five respondents (39 percent) say their company is hiring more remote workers than they did prior to the pandemic.
- Almost four of five travel managers (79 percent) say remote working policies boost employee morale, while 72 percent believe these policies help with talent recruitment.
“It’s great to see that business travel is coming back. The vast majority of suppliers and travel management companies continue reporting booking increases each month. But as outlined by the survey, the evolution we’ve seen since the pandemic is driving tremendous change across the business travel ecosystem,” said GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang. “Travel management teams now have a broader range of issues to address beyond negotiating supplier deals. The C-suite is more likely to promote the digitizing of more processes, implemention of sustainability initiatives, and steps to enhance satisfaction and security. Leaders are adjusting and taking steps to manage programs accordingly.”
Visit gbta.org for more information.
- Category: Industry News
Bus and motorcoach manufacturer Irizar has announced that the Governing Council has named Imanol Rego as the new CEO of the Irizar Group. He will take up the new position after September 26 to drive the Group forward and tackle the new challenges of the future of mobility.
Rego will take up the role after vast international experience in several high responsibility positions, from supply chain management to global business, and he has broad knowledge of several sectors as well as the Group after being general director of Irizar e-mobility.
He will assume his role with the goal of continuing developing and innovating with sustainable technology and transport solutions for all clients and passengers.
“The world is facing a climate and energy challenge. And the Irizar Group provides a wide range of transport solutions that span electromobility and other energy sources, always with the goal of responding to the efficiency and sustainability challenges the world of today presents us with. The transport of the future is already here and we want our clients and passengers to keep enjoying the group’s innovations and technology,” says Rego
In unanimous representation of the Governing Council, Irizar S.Coop President Koldo Mendizabal expressed his complete confidence in Rego who, as leader of a technologically advanced organization, will drive solid and sustainable growth, reflect its team values, maintain commitments to clients and, first and foremost, stimulate the maximum operating efficiency of the Irizar brand.
Visit irizar.com for more information.