2013 was certainly an interesting year for the staff at Limo Digest, and also for the ground transportation industry. Let’s recap some of the top stories of the past year.
1. Fire and Safety
Safety has been at the forefront of the industry’s collective consciousness this year. In May, a tragic limousine fire on the San Mateo Bridge that took the lives of five people made national news, and for months after America followed the investigation. Operators throughout the luxury ground transportation industry became committed to finding out what caused the fire, and how to prevent it from happening again in the future.
As a result of the tragic limousine fire, the California legislature worked with the Greater California Limousine Association between May and September to create new requirements on stretched limousines with the goal of improving passenger safety. With the passage of Senate Bills 109 and 338, the legislature successfully improved limo safety by requiring routine inspections, fire extinguishers and push-out windows on appropriate vehicles as determined by discourse between the GCLA and California Senators—specifically, stretched limousines with a seating capacity of 9 or fewer passengers.
Amendments to the legislation are expected to continue this year, and the GCLA is expected to continue negotiating with California legislative officials in order to improve passenger safety in ways that take into consideration costs and implementation for operators.
2. Health Care
This was the year that the Affordable Care Act began its highly publicized (and rocky) roll out. Between a large number of new and unfamiliar rules and regulations, and postponement after postponement of deadlines for employer requirements, we thought it might be useful to summarize what’s expected of employers, and when.
At the beginning of the year, proposed regulations on the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act were issued, but by mid-year the deadline of January 2014 was postponed to January 2015.
Those regulations include a fee of $2,000 per full-time employee, excluding the first 30 employees, on employers with more than 50 employees that do not offer coverage and have at least one full-time employee who receives a premium tax credit. Employers with more than 50 employees that offer coverage but have at least one full-time employee receiving a premium tax credit, will pay the lesser of $3,000 for each employee receiving a premium credit or $2,000 for each full-time employee, excluding the first 30 employees. Confusing, right? Check out the infographic below to help clarify employer responsibilities:
3. Rogue Apps
Competition from mobile apps—rogue apps, as they have come to be known in our industry—like Uber, Lyft and SideCar continued to increase in 2013. Accordingly, regulatory battles waged on, literally all over the world, with the support of luxury ground transportation associations and their members. At the beginning of 2013, ride-sharing start-ups like Lyft and SideCar were mostly contained in San Francisco, but have since expanded aggressively in order to compete with the rapid growth of Uber, the most notorious and wide-reaching of the rogue apps. We’ve put together a timeline summarizing the year’s biggest developments in the rogue app industry.