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Social Media Etiquette: 4 Things You Need To Know

Grassroots:

The Basics of Lobbying for Better Regulations

Myth Busted:

GPS Tracking Software is Not Too Expensive



Monday, December 9, 2013

Guest Blog Post: How Limo Operators Can Reduce Distracted Driving


Distracting driving is a serious issue. It is one of the leading causes of car accidents in North America, and has received a lot of mainstream press recently, even within the limousine industry. Remember the unfortunate incident involving the limo fire in California that caused the deaths of five passengers? It has since been reported that the driver of the limo was distracted, and was on his cell phone at the time of the incident. This incident raises some issues about limo companies and their need to pay more attention to distracted driving habits.

Types of distracted driving

While many people associate distracted driving with cell phone use and texting while driving, there are actually many different forms, all of which are dangerous and can inhibit a driver’s ability to keep their eyes and attention on the road at all times. Here are some of the most common types of distracted driving habits:

• Texting
• Using a cell phone
• Eating and drinking
• Grooming
• Adjusting the radio or CD player

Distracted driving is any action that is performed by a driver that causes them to lose focus and take their eyes off the road. This includes all visual, auditory and physical distractions that take your focus off the road when you are behind the wheel.

Limo-specific distracted driving issues

There are also a number of distracted driving practices that are specific to limo drivers and other transportation operators. As a limo driver, it is your job to be professional and act in a manner that ensures your passengers arrive to their destination safely. However, customer service also plays a role, and limo drivers need to find the correct balance between safe driving and great customer service when they are on the job. This can be a tough balancing act, especially when the limo is in motion. It is not uncommon for passengers to ask questions or engage drivers during the trip, but this can also cause drivers to become distracted.

Here are a number of distracted driving issues that are specifically relevant to limo operators:

• Talking to passengers: It’s common for drivers to chat with passengers and engage them in conversation, especially when driving town cars. However, drivers need to make a conscious effort to ensure their focus remains on the road at all times. Rowdy and unruly passengers can also be a major distraction, and this is why it is important that you enforce your limo companies’ rules when it comes to passenger safety.

• Cell phone use while driving: Since drivers spend a lot of hours in the car, it makes sense that they will have their phones in their vehicles. While this is important for business as cell phones are commonly used to talk with the office, other drivers, and to communicate with passengers, drivers need to make sure that they do not use their phones while the limo is in motion. Pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot if you need to make a call, if you do not have Bluetooth or a hands-free device.

• Playing with GPS/maps: Again, using GPS and maps are an ingrained part of being a limo driver. You need to use these tools to select routes and ensure your passengers get to their destinations in a timely manner. But it is important that you do not allow these things to distract your attention away from the road.

So what can limo companies do to reduce distracted driving practices by driver? 

Driver training and education is the first step to ensuring your drivers are not engaging in distracted driving practices. Make distracted driving part of your regular health and safety trainingm and make sure that this topic is addressed when training new drivers. Getting into an accident that is caused by distracted driving opens the door to a whole set of liability and insurance issues, not to mention how it also impacts your reputation within the industry and in the eyes of consumers. Take a proactive approach to distracted driving and road safety by taking the time to train your drivers and educate them about the dangers of distracted driving practices. Drive safe!


Dean Williams is the co-owner of Gem Limousine Service. Gem Limousine has been providing Oakville, Burlington, Milton, Toronto and surrounding areas with the finest available limousine service for over twenty years. Their dedication to customer service excellence has made them the limousine service of choice for many corporate and retail clients in the area. Keeping a diversified fleet, embracing new technologies, and continuous corporate referrals, this has allowed Gem Limousine to grow through the best and worst of economic times.

LILA Starts Petition to Repeal "Unfair Tax"


The Long Island Limousine Association is seeking support from transportation industry professionals in petitioning the New York State Tax Relief Commission to repeal what they call an "unfair tax on the transportation industry."

First adopted in 2009, the transportation sales tax was at first intended to cover taxis, livery vehicles and black cars, but once enacted excluded taxis, and not long after, livery vehicles as well. Singling out black cars for an additional tax burden is in large part the reason why this law has been called unfair. Putting the black car segment of the ground transportation industry at a competitive disadvantage, and in effect causing significant economic hardship to these small  business operators, does not result in enough revenue for the state to be justified, say petitioners.

The association is asking members and industry professionals for their support. By signing this petition, operators will contribute to the effort to put pressure on the co-chairs of Governor Cuomo's Tax Relief Commission to review the transportation sales tax, in hopes that they will repeal it, and restore competitiveness in the local ground transportation industry.

To learn more about the Long Island Limousine Association, visit www.nslalil.com.

To learn more about the petition discussed above, click here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Robert Werth of Diamond Transportation Elected TLPA President

Robert Werth, President of the TLPA

Robert M. Werth, a paratransit leader with more than thirty years of experience in the industry, has taken the reins of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association. Sworn into office on October 30th at the TLPA's 95th Annual Convention & Trade Show in Boston, Werth has proposed a focused agenda of things he hopes to accomplish throughout his term as the association's new president.

Included in that agenda for the next year are Werth's goals of promoting the TLPA's online driver education program, as well as their Transportation on Patrol program. Additionally, Werth has challenged association members to raise $3 million for their charitable giving program called "Community Connections." He will also lead the TLPA in "fight[ing] for the rights of the licensed, regulated TLPA carrier," by advocating for a national criminal background check for drivers, and more generally, by promoting resistance against the tide of rogue transportation apps like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. 

Werth has owned and operated Diamond Transportation since its inception with a single vehicle in 1984. Diamond's fleet has since expanded to over 130 vehicles with nearly 230 employees serving over 300,000 passenger trips annually. Notably, Diamond has one of the largest wheelchair-accessible fleets in the mid-Atlantic region. Werth has also served as president (and currently vice-president) of the Virginia Taxicab Association, and is the current chair of the Private Providers Task Force for the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments. 

For more information about Robert Werth and the TLPA, visit www.tlpa.org.

Limo Logo Design "No Nos": 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Recently, I did a post on the top 10 logos in the luxury ground transportation industry. With each of the ten finalists, I highlighted what I liked about each logo and why the logo worked. The fact of the matter remains, however, that more times than not logos are more about what they aren't than what they are. Time after time, I come across logos that I have to include in my publication that are flat-out designed wrong.

Because of this, I thought it would be a good idea to educate those looking for a new logo or perhaps reevaluating their present logos with a list of eight common mistakes in limo logo design.

8. Vectorize it!
Too often, businesses use "rasterized" images in their logos—a rasterized image is any image that is created with dots, like a photograph. A high-resolution (printable) image is 300 DPI (dots per inch). Think of it as a photograph—obviously, when you scale a photo larger, it loses clarity. The dots, or pixels, are spread out and it can appear to become fuzzy, or pixelated, to the eye. If you are creating a logo, use a program like Illustrator that bases its design on vector graphics. Vector graphics are not composed of pixels but rather are created by mathematical equations—allowing them to be blown up to any size without losing quality or detail.

If you are planning on using your logo in many different marketing collateral, then you need to create a vector version. This way, your logo will easily translate onto a business card, tee shirt, brochure, website and billboard and look exactly the same—essential for brand recognition.

Vector Logo
Rasterized Logo
                       
7. Keep it Simple, Stupid.
Remember that a complicated logo is counter-intuitive. There is a tendency for business owners that when they pay a designer that with every dollar they spend they want more. With logo design, most of the time "less is more." Your logo is the introduction to your company, so you cannot confuse the listener with a complicated message. This is even more important in the limo industry. Limo companies tend to have very long names, for the most part. Don't make your logo even more involved by making the logo an eyeful. Use easy-to-read fonts that, when scaled to any size, are easy to read. Also, eliminate any unnecessary wording in your logo. For example, adding LLC or Inc. to your name.

6. Overdoing Special Effects.
Gradients, beveling, 3-D Effects and styles look great on a concert poster. But on a logo? Not so much. There has always been the temptation to add crazy effects to a logo to make it, as many business owners call it, "more jazzy." However, it doesn't always work. Knowing how to bevel a logo in Photoshop does not translate over to the concept of designing a logo. Drop shadows work when laid over a photograph, but not necessarily in a logo design. If your logo has to be shrunken down in size, it makes for difficult reading.

5. Too Many Fonts.
Fonts are typefaces and are the most important choices you can make when designing a logo. Over time, the font you decide to use says quite a bit about your company. If you exercise the liberty of using too many fonts, your message will get confusing. Serifs and sans serifs are the two types of font styles. Put simply, serifs are fonts with feet and shoulders—Times New Roman, as an example. Sans serifs are fonts without feet and shoulders—Helvetica, for example. Can you combine a Serif and Sans Serif? Sure. But combine too many and it can dilute the logo and the message. Remember, the font should help accentuate the brand... not be the star.

4. Using Clip Art.
Clip art is another logo "no no". Clip art was created for the sole purpose of the creation of a popular theme that can be used multiple times by multiple artists. Don't use clip art as part of your logo. It comes off amateurish and hokey and cannot be original in any capacity. Avoid this shortcut and take the time to be unique.

3. Acronym Heavy.
Sometimes an acronym is unavoidable. Like, for example, ETS International. The company IS CALLED ETS. Acronyms that no one will know are ineffective on a logo. Business names are not normally created with logo designs in mind. Eventually long business names will become shortened as in the case of IBM
and FedEx. However, if a business does not yet have a presence then an acronym that no one knows it is ineffective. For example, don't create an acronym that isn't going to be what your company goes by.

Visual accents are also essential and every designer knows that to accent the wrong word in a name by lining up or emphasizing elements may mean that only unimportant words are memorable.

2. Bad Choice of Colors.
Every color on the color rainbow has a feeling or emotion tied to it innately. Red is powerful, Blue is corporate and Black is sleek. Combine all three and you may have a bit of a mess, unless you are an NHL franchise and you're getting revenue for the purchase of team merchandise. Stick with colors that tie into your brand. In fact, design the first logo drafts with no color at all. If you tie in your logo and associate it with a particular color, you won't get an unbiased opinion. Combining three colors is too many, no matter what colors you choose (unless one of the "colors" is gray or black, or something neutral). Stick with a basic color scheme and try to think a little out of the box when picking a color to brand your company around.

And the number one mistake to avoid, if at all possible, is the biggest blunder I see regularly:


1. Avoid Using a Limousine! Whether it be a clip art image of a limousine or a stylized version of a limousine, just say no! And I say this for a couple of reasons. Most notably, your business is not about the vehicle. I repeat: your business is not about the vehicle. Your business is about the "ride." You are not selling limousines, you are selling the experience of riding in a limousine. Don't make it about the vehicle... especially in a logo of your company. Make your logo mean you. Also, your company (unless it is a one-vehicle fleet) has different types of vehicles—what is it about all of them that make up your logo? Try to consolidate everything about your company in as broad of a stroke as possible. If your company is about customer satisfaction, build your logo around that. If it is about being on time, make it about that. By all means, avoid a vector image of a limousine. A "stylized" abstract allusion of a limousine? Maybe. But make the image yours.


As you can see, designing the proper logo can reap the reward of brand distinction. A unique, well-thought out logo design is the foundation of your business. Make it count!


Written by
Art Director
john@limodigest.com

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kristina Bouweiri of Reston Limo Wins International Award


On November 10, CEO of Reston Limousine, Kristina Bouweiri, along with 26 women from 12 countries, accepted the 2013 International Women's Entrepreneurial Challenge Award at the Seventh Annual IWEC Conference in Lima, Peru. The award honors successful female entrepreneurs throughout the world, and the conference celebrates the contributions of women within a diverse range of businesses. 

Over 300 people attended the conference this year, and the collective turnover of women-led companies that participated exceeds $4 billion dollars and employs 17,300 people. Issues discussed at the conference included topics like challenges of the global economy, women's leadership in growing businesses, mentoring, leadership and management issues. IWEC was formed in 2006 to form a global business network for women business owners with the goal of promoting access to international markets. 

"Representing the United States in showcasing the achievement of entrepreneurial women is a great honor for me," says Bouweiri, "because I am a woman working in a male-dominated industry." She notes the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit in women, and its role in evening the gender gap in business. 

For more information about Reston Limousine visit www.restonlimo.com.

For more information about the IWEC Awards visit www.iwecawards.com.

Congratulations to Kristina Bouweiri and all the women honored at this year's conference!



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Honoring the Late Joey Cirruzzo Sr., an Industry Icon

Joe Cirruzzo Sr. (1938-2013)

News came to us last week from the National Limousine Association, reporting that Joe Cirruzzo Sr. passed away on the morning of Wednesday, November 27. Services were held over the weekend in Staten Island, New York.

Cirruzzo was well known and well liked throughout the industry. The accomplished owner of A Elegant Worldwide Transportation served as an NLA board member from 2002-2005 and again since 2008. He was also recently honored as recipient of the NLA Industry Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, he served as a board member for the TLPA, and participated in many other industry associations.

Limo Digest is most appreciative of the invaluable insight and support Cirruzzo contributed as a member of our editorial advisory board for many years.

In addition to his participation in a countless number of industry organizations, Cirruzzo was also involved in a number of animal welfare organizations, and accordingly, the NLA reported that of "Joey's final wishes to celebrate his life, was to share his compassion for animals. Should you desire, a contribution can be made in his honor at: http://www.animalleague.org or http://www.humanesocietyofpinellas.org."

Our sincerest condolences go out to Joe's loved ones.

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