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This Month: Executive Coach Builders



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Back to Basics with Referrals: Developing Your Online Portfolio


Referrals are one of the key forces that drive any successful business. In the limousine industry, there are no exceptions.

A referral can make or break a deal with a potential client. The idea of generating a referral portfolio tends to become overlooked when you’re busy trying to run your own business. There are so many things that need to be done on a daily basis that many business owners forget that businesses grow based on word of mouth and referrals from their clients.

Of course, advertising and marketing help spread the word about your business—but it’s one thing for people to see an ad for your company that states what a great service you have to offer them, and another thing entirely for them to hear it from someone who has actually used your services. People trust what other consumers and businesses have to say. If it’s nothing but great reviews, you will definitely see your business affected in a positive way.

However, your clients aren’t the only sources that can get people talking about your company. Building a reputable referral portfolio with businesses such as hotels, airports, wedding planners, and other customer service industries is just as important. These industries are usually able to reach more potential clients than the individual client who used your ground transportation services in the past. Hotels, airports, bridal expos and travel industries serve a large volume of people, and the right type of people who have a need for your services, making it easier for them to spread the word about your limousine company. But how do you build a relationship with these businesses? With a few simple yet consistent steps, you can build your company a referral network and watch your business grow substantially.

Having a great reputation is the most important step in gaining potential word-of-mouth clients. Great reputations are based on providing excellent customer service to anyone who gets into your vehicle, and to those who are potentially going to be in your vehicle. This might seem like a no-brainer, but customer service can make or break a limousine company. This is a customer service-based industry, after all. Since this aspect is an expected part of the business, it is easy for it to become overlooked at times.

Chauffeurs should arrive to all appointments on time, be extremely courteous, and also be genuine. They are there to make the client feel comfortable and confident that they have chosen the right company, and more importantly, make them want to use your service again or recommend it to others. Chauffeurs are the face of your company; an ongoing training program helps to ensure that all your clients’ needs are met.

Another potential way to provide excellent customer service is through phone and face-to-face inquiries. The people answering your customers’ questions should be professional, patient, and polite, as well as knowledgeable about your vehicles and the type of services you offer. Training on new vehicles and new services that may come with them practically guarantees excellence with your reservations staff. Potential clients will appreciate that they are receiving great service before they step foot into your vehicle, and this will encourage them to use your service over the competition. Having a great reputation with your clients will encourage businesses to refer your company. Don’t forget to use customer satisfaction surveys and/or ghost riders to help you keep your great reputation. Other customer service businesses want to be affiliated with companies that have great reviews, assuring that their own reputations don’t become tarnished.

Finding potential affiliates is an important process that requires a lot of effort. Don’t let this step discourage you. Building a business comes with the notion that hard work is to be expected. The task itself is simple: contacting companies and asking for their business. The hard work comes when you begin contacting many companies to expand your business to its full potential, but this experience can also lead to a wealth of knowledge.

For example, you may call a hotel and ask them if they’d be willing to use and/or recommend your business to their guests. Even though there are many businesses that will agree to refer you, there will be times when the company you’re speaking with will turn you down because they already use another service. Instead of becoming frustrated, use this as a learning experience. Ask questions, such as what they like about the other company, or if they are happy with the services being provided. You could learn a thing or two about what makes the other company appealing to the hotel, and use that information to improve your business.

There’s also the potential that your company offers a service that the other does not. In that case, the business might consider taking you on as another recommendation. Even if this process is a demanding one, never let your frustrations show through during the conversation. Be respectful to the business you’re speaking with and to those with whom they affiliate themselves. Thank them for their time and consideration, whether they turn you down or not. They will be more likely to recommend your services in the future if they remember how professional you were.

Besides contacting companies through the traditional long-distance communication practices, you might also want to consider meeting the faces of those companies in person. This can be done without setting up business meetings. Look in your areas of business and the areas you wish to branch into, to see if there are expos and conventions where there will be businesses that have the need for your services, or who deal with the types of customers who need limousines.

Exhibiting at bridal expos is a great way to spread the word about your company. If obtaining your own booth isn’t an option, go to the expo anyway, and be sure to bring your business cards along. Talk to venues, caterers, and even dress boutiques. All these businesses will be in close contact with the brides and grooms who will need to find a limo service for their big day, and could potentially refer your services to them.

This same technique can be used at travel conventions and other relevant expos. Even when there aren’t conventions and expos, or if there aren’t any in your area, you can still obtain one-on-one time with the businesses you want to reach. A great way to get them interested in your company is to allow them to experience your service firsthand. Offer them a free trial or invite them to visit your business. Chances are that once they see how professional and dependable you are, they’ll more than likely give you the referral traffic you’re trying to generate.

Last but not least, it’s important that you develop a sales pitch that is clear and also unique, so that it sets you apart from the competition. You’ll use this pitch through emails, phone conversations and face-to-face interactions. A good sales pitch is crucial when trying to expand your business. It should be professional but not mechanical. It needs to be genuine, and to express what your company is all about. Mention all of your services, any awards or professional reviews you’ve received, and why your business is the best option. Developing a sales pitch will not only be useful when reaching out to potential clients, but also when inquiries come to you. You’ll have a confident answer to their question without stumbling or having to develop one on the spot. Being fully prepared will boost your reputation as a reputable company.

Referrals are more significant for a business than many people may realize. Providing excellent customer service, and working to reach out to companies that have the potential to use and refer your services, will only help you in the long run. Don’t let the importance of referrals slip your mind while you’re working to run a successful business. All businesses have either expanded into great companies or failed due to word of mouth. In order for your company to be successful, you want to make sure people are talking, and that they only have positive things to say about your company. As long as you are professional, dependable and hardworking, you too can develop a referral portfolio that will expand your business to its full potential. //LD

Jennifer Lewallen

Monday, February 8, 2016

Fleet Management: Why You Need to Track Your Limos



For the limo business, the fleet of limos is the primary asset and expense. Without vehicles, you cannot run your business, but those vehicles are costly to drive and maintain. Maintenance, insurance, repairs and fuel eat a large portion of your company's budget. One way to ensure that your vehicles are driven in the most cost-effective way possible, without sacrificing the level of service your clients receive, is with fleet tracking. Here are some reasons why tracking your limos is essential to success.

Fleet Tracking Lowers Insurance Costs

Insurance is one of the only places where you can seriously cut your costs as a limo business. With other expenses, like fuel, maintenance and driver pay, you have less control. Fleet tracking will help lower your risk, and thus your insurance cost.

Why do insurance companies reward fleets that have tracking systems installed? First, tracking vehicles helps limit reckless driver behavior. Driver accountability will lead to safer driver behavior, because your drivers know that their activities are being monitored. Your insurance company knows this as well, and will lower your premiums as a result.

Second, vehicles with GPS tracking systems are easier to recover if they are stolen. Limos are a target for potential thieves, and you will have the benefit of being able to provide the last-known location for the vehicle if it is stolen. This helps the police recover it more quickly.

How much can you save? According to Automotive Digest, your rates might drop by as much as 15 percent with fleet tracking.

Improve Client Safety

Your clients trust you to provide them with a safe ride to and from their destination. GPS fleet tracking helps ensure this, by implementing driver accountability, which leads to improved driver behavior. When tracking what your drivers are doing behind the wheel of your limos, you can better enforce safe driving practices and limit excessive speeding, braking and other unsafe habits.

Increase the Efficiency of Your Fleet

Limos aren't known for their fuel efficiency, but you can improve this with fleet tracking. Driving at high speeds or having a driver who sits in the limo with the engine running while waiting for a client can use fuel unnecessarily. You can set your fleet tracking system to alert you to specific vehicle speeds or excessive idling. Modern systems can even correlate speed alerts to the speed limits posted on a specific road using modern mapping technology. This, then, allows you to curb behavior that is hogging your fuel budget.

Improve Engine Diagnostics and Repair

Some GPS fleet tracking systems can directly tie into the engine and provide diagnostic help when alert codes are triggered. Your system can also be set up to provide alerts when it is time for a service check or maintenance visit. By scheduling maintenance in a timely way, you can get more mileage out of your limo fleet and ensure you always have vehicles ready to deliver your clients where they need to go. In addition, fleet tracking helps you address small issues before they develop into costly repairs through better maintenance tracking.

Better Customer Service

Some limo companies offer a call-and-deliver service, picking up clients at a moment's notice from their hotels or the airport. To guarantee prompt delivery of a vehicle when a last-minute request is made, you need GPS fleet tracking.

GPS fleet tracking shows, in real time, where all of your vehicles are. This, in turn, allows you to dispatch a limo and driver who is close to your target customer.

Also, GPS fleet tracking with mapping technology can show you real-time traffic data. With this information, you can route your drivers around traffic delays, ensuring they arrive at your customer's location on time and are able to deliver their passengers to their chosen destination in a timely manner.

What's the bottom line? If you are running a limousine service and want to provide the best service to your customers at minimal cost, you need the help of GPS fleet tracking. The benefits this technology provides means it will easily pay for itself through increased efficiency, enhanced customer service and lower insurance rates.

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Robert J. Hall
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and midsized companies. Check out one of his other Limo Digest posts here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Continental Returns: Lincoln Revives its Flagship Model


2017 Lincoln Continental

Lincoln Motor Company unveiled its 2017 Continental on January 11 at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, which the company will begin selling in America and China this fall.

The return of the company’s flagship full-sized sedan brings with it a “thoroughly modern” new design that intends to appeal to “culturally progressive clients who define luxury on their own terms,” according to a Lincoln media release.

“The Continental name has long been associated with the ultimate in Lincoln beauty and luxury,” Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln, said in the media release. “With the all-new model, we are focusing on creating more human, personally tailored experiences for our clients – providing what we call quiet luxury.”

Understated elegance certainly resonates with the Continental’s brand history, and while the 2017 model is “brimming with luxury features,” according to an NAIAS press release, Lincoln has managed to marry contemporary wow-factor with low key luxury with this revival.

Elegant Design Features

A stand-out design feature of the new Continental is the “Lincoln Embrace,” which illuminates a brand-exclusive flowering sequence of LED signature lighting in the lower front fascia, rear tail lamps and headlamps when it detects a driver approaching. Mat lights also brighten the ground area around the front doors to improve ease of entry, and interior lighting aims to create a warm welcome to passengers.

“This car greets you as you approach it,” Galhotra said in the NAIAS press release. “As you get near it, this car comes to life.”

An abundance of other contemporary technological features enable a customized experience, including “Perfect Position” seats inspired by private jets and high-end office furniture, which can adjust to a passenger’s body shape and weight, provide a massage, heating, cooling, independent thigh extensions for additional support, and can be adjusted up to 30 different ways.

“It fits you like a fun suit,” Galhotra said in the press release.

Heated, cooled and massaging seats are also available in the rear, as are audio and climate controls and sunshades. Moreover, “the streamlined interior provides generous rear legroom,” according to the media release.

Door handles are built cleanly into the belt line and come equipped with E-latch electronic door releases, which pop open the doors with the touch of a button and use power-cinching technology to automatically close them.

Additional design features include an available panoramic sunroof that almost spans the entire roof, the front half of which slides up and over the rear; a customizable instrument panel; and three exclusive Lincoln Black Label designer interior theme options, which utilize unique woods, leathers and other luxury materials. All models feature new design details, including couture-like seat stitching and laser-cut center console door slats.
“This car greets you as you approach it,” Galhotra said in the NAIAS press release. “As you get near it, this car comes to life.”

Optimized For A Quiet Ride

A quiet and “serene” interior is an important element to the design of the 2017 Continental, according to the media release, and the model is thus equipped with several features aimed at optimizing the sonic experience of the ride.

First, 20-inch foam-lined tires are available to reduce noise from the tire cavity by as much as seven decibels. In addition, acoustic-laminated side glass helps insulate the interior cabin from exterior noise from the road and wind.

Very notable is an Active Noise Control feature that listens for undesirable noise throughout the cabin using microphones, produces opposing sound waves through the speakers to cancel them out, and at the same time enhances desired sounds.

Finally, the Revel speaker grilles are designed to produce optimized sound quality — the result of developers testing 200 different designs, according to the media release.

Performance And Safety Enhancing Technology

While Lincoln has loaded the new Continental with technologies aimed at enhancing the luxury aspects of the vehicle, a variety of technological features also aim to improve performance and safety.

The base engine will be a 3.7-liter V6 with standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive, and probably around 300 horsepower, followed by a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6, also with front-wheel drive standard and all-wheel drive optional, according to Consumer Reports.

The top-level vehicle’s new brand-exclusive 3.0-liter V6 engine with twin turbochargers produces an estimated 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, and “is designed for smooth, responsive, yet quiet power,” according to the media release, and an optional all-wheel-drive system comes with “Dynamic Torque Vectoring,” which automatically transfers torque between the rear wheels for improved stability when turning corners.

Also designed to improve handling is an adaptive steering feature called “Lincoln Drive Control,” which provides three settings – comfort, normal and sport – to tailor steering and suspension for improved steering response. “Advanced sensors in the continuously controlled damping system monitor the road 23,000 times per second and automatically adjust to provide a smooth and comfortable ride.”

To assist with parking and maneuvering in tight spots, a new 360-degree camera system seamlessly combines images from four cameras mounted in the grille, deck lid and 180-degree side mirrors for an overhead view of the vehicle. Several other technological features are useful for driving in stop-and-go traffic, including “Auto Hold,” which keeps the vehicle at a complete stop without the need for a driver to keep his foot on the brake, and adaptive cruise control, which automatically slows the vehicle in traffic, resumes higher speeds when it clears, and can even activate the brakes if the driver fails to brake in time.

In terms of safety, a feature called “Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection” scans the roadway ahead using radar and camera technology, and warns the driver if it detects a collision risk. However, if the driver does not respond in time, this feature can apply up to full braking force automatically to help prevent some frontal collisions or reduce their severity.

Similarly, a lane-keeping system is available, which alerts the driver if the vehicle is drifting from the driving lane and applies steering torque to help direct it back into the appropriate lane. Finally, SYNC 3 technology allows the driver to make calls, play music and read texts in the center display without the need to take his hands off the wheel.

An Upward Trend in Luxury For Ford

Mark Fields, CEO of Ford, said Lincoln is steadily making progress in the luxury vehicle market, with global sales up 17% last year and plans for 60 Lincoln dealerships to be operational by year’s end, according to the NAIAS press release.

“2016 will be an inflection point for Lincoln. It is the largest ever portfolio for the brand,” Fields said in the press release. “With the Continental, we are delivering the last of the four new [Lincoln] products that we promised.” The 2017 Lincoln Continental will be produced at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan, and will be available for purchase in the fall of 2016.

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 Written by
Associate Editor & Digital Media Manager
adam@limodigest.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Best Chauffeured Worldwide Acquires VIP Limousines & Coaches

 
Best Chauffeured Worldwide Acquires VIP Limousines & Coaches
Orange County’s top two services unite as Best-VIP Chauffeured Worldwide,
providing the ultimate in luxury transportation.

[Orange County, CA.] – Best Chauffeured Worldwide, an acclaimed luxury transportation service, is pleased to announce the acquisition of their highly respected competitors, VIP Limousines & Coaches. Both award-winning companies have earned multiple industry accolades, and independently earned reputations for being customer-driven and employee oriented. Their similar business philosophies made the acquisition a natural step, with official integration beginning in early 2016. With over 50 years of combined expertise, Best-VIP Chauffeured Worldwide offers decades of experience while moving into the future of luxury transportation.

“This is extremely exciting,” Robert Vaughan, Best Chauffeured Worldwide founder and CEO, said. “VIP has a great team coming over with the company and the owner, Roger Webb, is staying on for two years to ensure a seamless transition before he retires. We’re taking the best of both companies and implementing fresh processes and procedures, and we’re looking forward to combining into one location next year. We’re very energized about it.”

Once integrated, Best-VIP Chauffeured Worldwide will offer a united staff and an extraordinary fleet of over 140 vehicles. Top-of-the-line limousines, sedans, vans, SUV’s, minicoaches and motorcoaches will be available, functioning with cutting edge technology to ensure luxurious travel with hassle-free reservations. Both companies hold a rapport with the leading DMC’s and Meeting Planners in Southern California, and the new Best-VIP brand will maintain the highest level of service and deliver innovative options for travelers booking transportation locally and globally.

Best Chauffeured Worldwide started as a one-vehicle, weekend limousine service, and grew into a company that offers a stunning of fleet of vehicles and services across the globe. They take pride in every facet of their business, from their back office and mechanical crew to their charismatic drivers. After 20 years, Best Chauffeured accumulated a client roster that includes Fortune 500 companies and VIP celebrities.

VIP Limousines & Coaches is a leading force in ground transportation, offering a top quality fleet designed to give clients the finest services and support available. During their 30 years of business, they’ve worked with high profile clients including Broadcom, the Anaheim Ducks, and Montage Resort. Now a part of the Best Chauffeured Worldwide family, VIP will offer the same level of service to their loyal clients on a global level.

“What’s made us both very successful is our commitment to service," comments Vaughan. "We provide high-end vehicles with professional chauffeurs, and strong backbone support within our office structure. Best and VIP have been able to compete in the market with one another, and now that we’re moving forward as one we’ll continue to provide elevated service and premium transportation on a larger scale.”

Both companies are pillars in Orange County transportation, and the new Best-VIP Chauffeured Worldwide brand is a unified point of strength and reliability in the industry. For more information, visit www.best-vip.com.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dav El | BostonCoach Brands Acquires Chicago’s Metropolitan Limousine

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Marcou Transportation Group, owner of Dav ElBostonCoach, today announces the acquisition of Metropolitan Limousine, Chicago’s premiere quality chauffeured service. The company will now be known as Metropolitan Limousine, a Dav El | BostonCoach Company.

Located in the heart of the South Loop, Metropolitan Limousine has been operating a private chauffeured service in the Chicagoland area since 1972. Since its founding, Metropolitan Limousine has developed a network of affiliate partners across the U.S. and Canada, and in major cities throughout Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia to accommodate clients traveling nationally and internationally

“Metropolitan Limousine is one of the oldest and largest transportation services in the Chicago market and provides the highest-quality of limousine services in the city. Metropolitan’s staff consists of well-trained and hardworking employees and we are excited for them to join our team,” stated Scott Solombrino, President and Chief Executive Officer for Dav El / Boston Coach. “Chicago is a key market for our business and this acquisition positions us as a major operator there, providing access to all the top luxury hotels in Chicago, which Metropolitan Limousine currently services.”

“The acquisition of Metropolitan Limousine is a strategic component to the growth and operations of the Dav El / BostonCoach transportation network,” said Solombrino.

"The opportunity provided to Metropolitan by the Dav El / BostonCoach acquisition is an exciting one that offers multiple benefits for our customers and our company," said Ted Milos, former co-owner of Metropolitan.

To read more, click out the official press release by clicking here.

Monday, January 4, 2016

R&R Limousine Wins Angie’s List Super Service Award Second Year In A Row

Louisville, KY - R&R limousine, an upscale chauffeur and transportation touring company was the proud recipient of the 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award. This is the second year in a row they’ve received this honor.
R&R Limousine understands the importance of customer satisfaction and promises to always deliver only the best in transportation and chauffeured services. To receive the award R&R has to be super on their service by meeting Angie’s list eligibility requirements, maintaining an overall “A” rating, being in good standing according to Angie’s list guidelines and passing a background check. R&R appreciates the high praise from clients via the Angie’s list award as it reflects their own high standards of customer service.
“Only about five percent of the transportation companies in the Ohio Valley have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”
As Louisville’s most popular transportation and touring company owner Carey Fieldhouse says “We are honored to be among the best in in our industry, and we are happy that our clients think so highly of us and the services we offer. We thank everyone who gave us such a great rating on Angie’s List.”

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Self Driving Cars and the Trolley Problem: Can Your Autonomous Car Sacrifice You?



The “trolley problem,” a famous philosophical question, is an ethical predicament that has bewildered many, especially those with idealistic affinities. Think about a trolley that’s on a deadly collision path towards a group of people and you can only save them by pushing one big person to change its course; what would you do?

To simplify the debate, researchers took a more “humanistic” approach and began surveying the general public. A questionnaire was asked in an online survey, which included a situation where the car would either kill a group of walkers on the road or would deviate to hit a wall and kill the driver.

The survey ironically showed that over 75 percent chose self-sacrifice to save the bystanders, the number of people that opted for self-sacrifice dropped to 50% when instead of a large group of people, there was just one pedestrian that they would end up slaying.

The numbers aren’t really an accurate pointer though. Human nature of self-preservation is an influential force, and had the surveyors known that their answers would be used to program the self-driving cars that they will use; it’s highly likely that they would have responded differently.

The participants were paid 25 cents for the responding on the ‘Amazon Mechanical Turk.’ An aggregate of 913 contributors gave responses to three surveys asking diverse questions. The survey was accessible online worldwide open for all.

The initial version of the survey randomized the figure of pedestrians killed which ranging from one to 10. The second tested how the participants would program the vehicle if they had the duty to do so, would they let the driver die every time or the pedestrians? In the third survey, they were told a story in which ten pedestrians were saved after the vehicle deviated to kill the driver; they were then asked to assume that they were driving and later as one of the pedestrians. Their answers on the ethics of this were assessed.

Demographics show that the ones enthusiastically anticipating autonomous cars were young and had lenient religious values.

Results suggest that most people who participated in the survey preferred that the vehicle should prioritize logical gain, to save more over less, which in philosophy is known as utilitarianism. Road policies are sure to become a daunting problem, because it’s uncertain if the public would allow vehicles that have the deciding ability to sacrifice their occupants if the situation and logic supports it. This will be the topic of constant debate and a tenacious nuisance for companies after they start mass producing this technology. Indeed, self-driving cars are the future, a safer substitute, which has the capacity to reduce road related fatalities by a whopping 90%. But since exceptions fuel most debates, the remaining 10% will be, in the name of ethics, a bane for the automotive industry.

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Jemima Mayers
Jemima Mayers is a passionate blogger who loves to write on latest trending topics. Her expertise is in travelling and automobile industry. Follow her @jemima_mayers.

Friday, December 18, 2015

IATR Annual Conferences – Merci Beaucoup Montreal (for 2015) & Hello San Francisco (for 2016)!


IATR President Matt Daus delivers welcoming remarks at the 2015 Montreal IATR conference,
sporting an IATR hockey jersey.


This year brought another highly successful conference of the International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The theme of the 2015 conference was “Regulatory Resiliency, Renewal and Regeneration.”

Our 28th Annual Conference was one of the highest rated of all prior conferences. In addition to the high attendance rate, the results of our post-conference survey contained some of the best ratings ever. Over 94% of attendees reported that the conference completely met and exceeded expectations and was worth the investment. Well over 82% of attendees indicated that the entertainment, events, speakers, program theme, and topics were very good, excellent or the “best ever.”

Many people worked together to make this conference so successful, including our conference planning committee, our supportive conference hosts: Aref Salem, Linda Marchand, Kim Thibault, and Marie-Hélène Giguère of Montreal’s Taxi Bureau, as well as our conference planners Bianca Blag and Michelle Iadarola. In addition, the IATR’s new partnership with the United States Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Research Center (UTRC) from the City University of New York, was on full display, where resources were committed from the university to help plan, support and implement the conference. Our thanks go out to Dr. Camille Kamga, Nadia Aslam and Tierra Fisher of the UTRC for their unwavering assistance. Of course, we could never have had such an outstanding conference without the support of our many sponsors who helped us with transportation, booths/displays and participation in our educational sessions.

Our Montreal program sessions addressed every current issue at both the high and granular levels, with experts and peers looking behind and beyond the current state of affairs of the technological disruption movement, while attempting to forecast the fast approaching future. Topics included pressing issues such as: criminal background checks; insurance coverage; wheelchair accessibility; smartphone and related debit/credit payment processing; aggregator and related technology developments; autonomous and connected vehicles; as well as data privacy and security protections and protocols. For the first time, we had a well-received IATR Conference App that was used to provide a paperless format to view the speaker bios, presentations, events, and program. The program can be viewed here: http://www.utrc2.org/sites/default/files/2015-IATR-Conference-Program.pdf. The papers, PowerPoints, photos, and videos of the conference can be viewed by members in good standing by visiting www.iatr.global.

We were honored to welcome the former Governor of the State of New York, Hon. David A. Paterson, as our keynote speaker, who discussed his historic tenure, his approach and accomplishments in the for-hire transportation arena. Governor Paterson also shared: his new activities and advocacy for clean air and accessible vehicles; safe, secure and efficient technologically based ground transportation services; and the EB-5 immigration program’s transportation funding initiatives. Other highlights of the conference included: (1) the release of the final version of the Model Regulations for Accessibility: http://www.windelsmarx.com/resources/documents/IATR%20Accessibility%20Model%20Regs%2012.11.15%20(11157211).pdf; (2) review and discussion of the “One Standard for All” report by the City University of New York on best practices for driver criminal background checks: http://www.utrc2.org/sites/default/files/pubs/Background%20Check%20Report.pdf; (3) the first-ever Summit of Canadian Regulators to discuss transportation regulation issues north of the border; and (4) the release of major regulatory reforms by Transport for London, announced at our conference during the “Leveling of the Playing Field” panel discussion by Helen Chapman: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/tph/private-hire-proposals/user_uploads/private-hire-proposals-sept-2015.pdf.

IATR attendees were delighted to spend time in such a dynamic and exciting city as Montreal, where we celebrated its unique culture, history, and outstanding culinary and entertainment options. Among our networking and educational activities, we experienced - first-hand - Canadian pride in the sport of ice hockey, by holding our welcoming reception at the Montreal Forum. Our attendees faced-off in a shoot-out with a live goalie, while sporting their favorite hockey team jerseys on what used to be the ice rink where the Montreal Canadians played for decades. Live Montreal entertainment and cocktail events included an outstanding blues/soul/rock performance by the Sylvie Desgroseilliers quartet, and our grand finale gala dinner at Cirque Éloize at the Gare Dalhouise, included performances by contortionists and acrobats. At our gala event, the IATR Board was pleased to present its annual Regulator of the Year award to Tina Paez of Houston, Texas, who has been a strong and influential transportation regulator, originally introduced to the IATR via a scholarship and who held the line on public safety by ensuring that TNC drivers undergo criminal background checks via fingerprinting. The IATR Board was also delighted to present its annual International Driver of the Year award to David Tuffs, of Chicago, Illinois, for his exemplary service in providing wheelchair accessible service to disabled passengers. It was a conference to remember and an informative time was had by all.

IATR 2016 - 29th Annual Conference - San Francisco, CA

The City of San Francisco is the birthplace of the technology transportation movement, the home of Silicon Valley and all things high-tech, and a world leader in shared mobility, sustainable transportation and mobility management. As the host of IATR’s 29th Annual Conference, the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will serve as our hub, showcasing its unique multi-modal transit management and regulatory approach. After almost five (5) years of unprecedented smartphone transportation technology disruptive events, IATR regulators will return to the West Coast and Ground Zero of the Transportation Network Company (TNC) genesis.

The theme of IATR’s 29th Annual Conference is “21st Century Transportation Regulation – A Vision for Shared Mobility, Multi-Modal Integration & Governance.” The SFMTA, which has proven to be a successful experiment in the integration of taxicab regulation into a larger agency that manages multiple transit modes, including buses, subways, bicycles, and traffic management. A true transportation hybrid entity, the SFMTA was ahead of the curve in terms of being ready for the sweeping technology changes that have brought regulatory approaches and competing or diverse transit modes together under one planning and management roof. SFMTA, at this critical time in transportation history, is the perfect host and case study for new and future regulatory models.

This conference is expected to center on high technology developments central to the evolution of 21st century taxicab and for-hire vehicle services. Topics will include the replacement or metamorphosis of the taximeter, autonomous and connected vehicles, Vision Zero safety technology developments, and on-board diagnostics. The use of smartphone technology platforms, aggregation services and integrated technology solutions will be examined, and the most current developments shared with conference attendees.

The establishment of the City of San Francisco involved mining for gold by 49ers searching for riches and fortune as part of the Gold Rush. In the 21st century, we have turned from mining for iron ore gold, to theoretical Silicon Valley gold – the collection and use of data. To this end, the 29th Annual Conference will focus extensively on open transportation data platforms by government and the private sector, and is expected to include the IATR’s first-ever Hack-A-Thon, where technology experts will seek to solve service issues or problems through the analysis of SFMTA taxi and related data, in an exercise that will be shared during the conference.

The IATR’s international footprint continues to grow exponentially, as the transportation technology disruption movement knows no borders. The varied regulatory responses in other parts of the world will be explored, on TNC and other topics. IATR will hold sessions that are dedicated to various continents and countries to highlight and focus on approaches to regulation, including separate sessions for Canadian, European, Asian and Australian regulators.

Finally, this conference will focus on the developing concept of shared mobility - in terms of environmentally sustainable modes of transportation - such as group riding or true ridesharing, bike sharing, car rentals, and other integrated transit solutions that use multiple modes to provide more efficient options, while plugging service gaps. Leading academics, experts and practitioners will share information and knowledge about how transportation professionals are approaching 21st century multi-modal transit planning, and where taxicabs, TNCs, limousines, and other for-hire vehicles fit in.

Merci beaucoup Montreal, and let’s get ready for San Francisco!

Mobility Ventures Donates New MV-1 Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle to Inspiring Waitress Whose Story Captured Nation's Attention

Mobility Ventures, LLC


Representatives from Mobility Ventures, LLC, along with New Jersey volunteer firefighters, and members of the community, were on hand at an event where a new, fully wheelchair accessible MV-1 was donated to the Woodward family of Mount Laurel, NJ.
 

This past summer, Liz Woodward picked up the breakfast tab for two volunteer firefighters (Paul Hullings and Tim Young  - one of which had just come off of a fire), while working as a waitress in a diner. Taken by her gesture, the firefighters were inspired to action when they learned Ms. Woodward had started the "Woodward Strong" campaign to raise money for her father, who had suffered a brain aneurysm some years earlier and was in need of a wheelchair accessible vehicle. In an act of "paying it forward" the two firefighters helped her boost the campaign from $30,000 to $80,000 and reach over 125 countries.


After hearing her story, Mobility Ventures was inspired to match the generosity of Ms. Woodward, the firefighters and the thousands of campaign donors by providing the Woodward family with a fully wheelchair accessible MV-1 vehicle.


"When we heard about Liz's efforts to help her father and the incredible support she's received from her community, we were deeply inspired and wanted to pay forward her kindness," says Pat Kemp, Mobility Ventures Executive Vice President.  "We're happy to have a hand in giving her family back their mobility and freedom, and the peace of mind that comes from driving a safe and reliable vehicle."

"The generosity and kindness the campaign supporters and Mobility Ventures have shown is really incredible and I hope this brings hope to others in similar situations and inspires people to help those in need in any way possible," said Liz Woodward. "We truly appreciate it."

The MV-1 is the only purpose built wheelchair accessible vehicle. The MV-1 redefines accessible transportation with a built-in side-entry power ramp, ample head room, and seating for up to five which includes the ability to safely accommodate two wheelchair users at a time—one of whom rides in the front and the other in the spacious passenger area —making it the perfect solution for consumers, commercial use, and government fleets. And at Mobility Ventures, safety comes first.  The MV-1 safety record is unmatched by any wheelchair accessible vehicle, based on federal NHTSA safety recall data for aftermarket conversion vans. Additionally, the MV-1 meets all Buy America requirements.
                  

Information about the MV-1 family of accessible vehicles can easily be found on our website at www.mv-1.us The site includes useful information on building/customizing your own MV-1, vehicle specifications, a downloadable brochure, vehicle photos and the nationwide dealer network locations. Also, please click the hyperlinks below for informative MV-1 customer testimonials.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oU-YPOQD910
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifZXRnWVSVs
 
About Mobility Ventures LLC Mobility Ventures is an industry innovator in purpose-built paratransit vehicles for public and private transportation providing design, engineering, marketing, sales, and customer service support. Mobility Ventures is a wholly owned subsidiary, of AM General LLC. Please see more information about Mobility Ventures at www.mv-1.us.

About AM General AM General designs, engineers, manufactures, supplies and supports specialized vehicles for military and commercial customers worldwide. Through its military business, the company is widely recognized as the world leader in design, engineer, manufacture and support of Light Tactical Vehicles, having produced and sustained more than 300,000 vehicles in over 60 countries. Its growing Commercial business includes its wholly owned subsidiary, Mobility Ventures, designer and manufacturer of the acclaimed MV-1, the only American made vehicle specifically engineered from the ground up in support of wheelchair users and people with disabilities. AM General is also proud to have been selected by Mercedes-Benz to be its only contract manufacturer in the United States, producing the R-Class vehicle in Mishawaka, Indiana. AM General has more than five decades of experience meeting the changing needs of the defense and automotive industries, supported by its employees at major facilities in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, and a strong supplier base that stretches across 43 states.

Please see more information about AM General at www.amgeneral.com.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Philly Taxi Drivers Rally Againt Uber, Lyft and Literally Stop Traffic

Philly Rally Againt Uber


If you took your lunch hour in LOVE Park today, you would have seen lots of taxis but would have had trouble catching a ride.

Cab drivers parked their vehicles and then encircled Philadelphia City Hall in a horn-honking protest to demonstrate they don't want competition from ride-sharing services.

Dozens of taxis were parked in rows three deep on JFK Boulevard as the drivers held up signs protesting the Uber-X ride-sharing service. The service uses a mobile phone app for pickups instead of phone calls or hailing a cab from the curb. Through the app, the company connects people looking for a ride with private car owners looking for extra money.

Philadelphia Parking Authority regulations have kept Uber from operating the ride-sharing services in the city. Ronald Blunt, president of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania, said cab drivers and owners are united against legalizing Uber-X.

Source: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com
To read more, click here.

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