Denver — In what Colorado Limousine Association (CLA) Secretary Jason Ramsey of Prestige Worldwide Transportation describes as a “standing-room only” meeting, more than 30 people turned out for the association’s November 21 member meeting for an evening that included guest speakers, statewide information, and association-specific topics.
Those in attendance heard detailed presentations from Amy Ford of the Colorado Department of Transportation, Jeremy Lee of Wells Fargo Finance, and George Kovach of Mutual Bank of Omaha. Lee also explained how his company helps finance “sedans and motorcoaches and everything in between,” according to Ramsey, while Kovach discussed traditional SVA lending for growing companies. Ford, meanwhile, provided an update on the reconstruction of interstate I-70 at the I-25 interchange.
“She said that we’re basically not going to be losing any lanes but we will see a shift in traffic patterns—so that was good news,” Ramsey said. He added that the “hot topic” of the meeting was the future of transportation technology, such as computer-driven pods. “They’ve had companies reach out to them to say that the technology is there, but they just don’t have the space to implement it at this point in time.”
While it’s mostly quiet on the Denver International Airport front, Ramsey emphasized that the CLA wants to remind everyone currently using switchable transponders that they need to get them reactivated at the airport by the December 15 cutoff date.
The association’s executive board is anticipating a message from state legislators this Wednesday, November 22, with a list detailing 2018 PUC proposals, which will be discussed during a special executive board meeting the following morning. While Ramsey said that the board is obviously withholding any opinions and actions until its members see what the new year has in store for transportation operators, one potential item is already of considerable concern to the CLA.
“We’ve been hearing that they want to take away bench seating in Sprinter and Transit vans,” Ramsey said. “90 percent of executive vans being operated here have bench seating, so the language that defines luxury limousines could change. It’s one of those things that don’t make much sense to anybody: It would put a lot of people at a very, very significant disadvantage. So we have our eye on that possibility.”
Toward the end of the evening, members discussed how a PUC sampling of 200 Uber drivers in the past 18 months yielded the discovery that more than a quarter—57 drivers—“should have not been allowed on the platform under state law.”
“Among the findings of the investigation were 12 drivers with felony convictions; 17 drivers with major moving vehicle violations; three drivers with interlock driver’s licenses, which are required after recent drunk driving convictions; and 63 drivers with driver’s license issues,” a press release from the association states.
Ramsey added that the CLA has asked the PUC to perform a complete audit of all TNC companies’ platforms, while noting that the PUC’s $8.9M fine would be reduced by nearly half if Uber pays it within 10 days.
“That’s a drop in the bucket,” he said. “For such a small sampling over a year and a half, we think the PUC needs to examine TNCs more closely when a random sample has so many risks to public safety. it doesn’t bode well, especially when we have limousine companies that go through a fingerprint process TNCs aren’t subject to.”
The next CLA event will be its annual holiday party on December 5, where Ramsey said guests will have a chance to win more than $500 worth of prizes.
CLA will kick off 2018 with a January 16 membership meeting at a new location—Ecotech Institute in Aurora—and with elections for the new year’s board.
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