TLPA Holds Conference in New Orleans,
Keeps Uber on Its Radar
The Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) held its Spring Conference and Expo in New Orleans last month. According to the TLPA, it was the fifth largest in the meeting’s 35-year history. Attendees enjoyed an opening cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, a buffet breakfast, and a sold out exhibit hall featuring vendors showcasing their latest products.
At the general session, TLPA President Mary Smarelli, welcomed attendees to the meeting and gave an update on the association and its legislative happenings along with CEO Al LaGasse and TLPA General Counsel Chip Watkins about American with Disabilities Act (ADA) litigation in New York City, new developments with Form 1099-K, and federal transportation legislation.
Limo Digest Publisher Chris Weiss, attended the Limousine Steering Committee meeting, which featured guest speaker Fred Sawyers, GM for Hilton New Orleans Riverside. He discussed quality control and how hotel managers view livery operators.
Several other key topics were addressed by the committee. Among them, Uber stood out as something all operators should be on the lookout for. An on-demand car service, Uber is popping up in markets—and headlines—across the country. The service uses a smartphone app to allow customers to see available cars in their area, which they can then choose. The driver locates the client using the client’s GPS location on their phone when the order was placed. Billing is done through the phone, and Uber works directly with chauffeurs. “The proliferation of phone apps for transportation services directly to drivers is a very serious challenge to public safety and local regulatory enforcement,” says LaGasse. Uber is reminiscent of the Avis/WeDriveU battles the industry faced a couple of years ago. The committee thinks that drawing attention to Uber’s lack of regulation will help fight it, and has formed a technology sub-committee to discuss strategies to compete with entities like Uber.
There was also an update on the IRS Form 1099-K regulatory issue. Watkins says that if the limousine company files a Form 1099-MISC to all independent contractor chauffeurs for all of their income, then it does not need to file a Form 1099-K on those same chauffeurs. It was also advised that the ADA case in New York City could lead to the expansion of vehicle accessibility requirements for limousine operators.
LaGasse says this event was one of the highest rated by conference attendees. The TLPA hopes to see limousine operators at its Mid-Year International Leadership Conference in Niagara Falls, Canada, July 18-20.
For more information and to register, visit www.tlpa.org. LD06/12