Tag Archives: airport limo

What is the #DeleteUber Campaign All About?

It all started with Uber’s decision to disable surge pricing around New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport in response to a taxi driver’s strike spurred by Trump’s executive order of an immigration ban. Uber’s tactic was rationalized by their executive team with the same boiler plate marketing spin they’ve used for years: providing transportation as reliable as running water. The multi-billion dollar global behemoth missed a key opportunity to stand up for what a large sector of their user demographic believed was right and was seen instead as profiting from a national and logistical crisis.

Users of the app and protesters alike viewed Uber as profiting from the strike.As a result of this massive PR blunder, Uber suffered a significant exodus of socially conscious and connected users. This should come as no surprise. Uber has cemented a reputation long before as “opportunistic” and “unfair’ confirming many users simmering suspicions to believing the worst in the company. We’ve seen it before with their surge price fiasco during Hurricane Sandy, as well as the mass shooting in Australia, where scores of users were hit with outrageous surcharge fees during their attempt to flee an active shooter area.

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What is the #DeleteUber campaign all about?

In June, Uber accepted a massive $3.5 billion cash infusion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund from a government that doesn’t allow women to drive cars and punished a rape victim for being alone with a male non-relative. Consequently, Uber put the theocratic regime on a board seat.

As people create social media firestorms with the #deleteUber, consider what choices and circumstances you are supporting. Uber throughout the years has had embarrassing data breaches, been known to allegedly spy on its own customers, threaten to dig up dirt on journalists, and downplay sexual assault.

Why would anyone support a company like Uber? With ethics and consciousness on the rise, and more people choosing to vote with their wallets the #deleteUber campaign was about the people and for the people. The people asked others to delete Uber accounts entirely.

When considering other car service options, please know that private limo companies such as A&E Worldwide Limo only offers the most consistent, safe and highest end car and limo service with no political agendas. With an increasing number of choices available in transportation to the consumer, boutique chauffeured service companies have started to pay attention to how and why consumers spend their money and have raised their level of accountability, standards and connectedness within the car service market and the world.

 

An Inside Look Into the Grammys with A&E Worldwide Limo

As we all know, Los Angeles is the mecca of entertainment. When Tinseltown glistens with special events, and awards seasons,  thousands of sedans, limousines and high-end specialty vehicles pour onto the streets of Los Angeles.

Here’s an inside look from one limousine operators.

While viewers tune in to watch awards seasons on TV,  limo service dispatch centers are humming with intense activity.

Planning and coordination start two months ahead of time.  At every limousine company lies the heart of the hive – the dispatch room  often called “air traffic control,” –this is where the location and ETA of drivers and cars are coordinated. With clients making last minute requests and itinerary changes, it can be a daunting task running dispatch for clients and celebrities.  But you can never say “no” to a client.  Dispatch room supervisors often stay on shift until 3 am and can kick up their feet only after every last client is taken care of.

To the average person, the limo operations is an obscure concept. Many do not know that intricate communications and operational systems are running efficiently at high speed to meet the needs of clients. Multi-line call centers are the brain centers of proprietary dispatchers in the industry. Solid communication dispatch, emails, and texts are all necessary and fundamental lines of communication systems in helping us serve our clients optimally.

Limousines, sedans and vans are scattered from Beverly Hills to Hollywood picking up passengers  all over town, then making their way to awards venues: Dolby Theatre in Hollywood for the Oscars and Staples Center for Grammys and Emmys. Even the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion sees some activity during the technical and Actors Guild Awards.

The bulk of customers procuring limos come from the Los Angeles entertainment industry – production and studio accounts.  However, individual high- net worth individuals and long time accounts usually reserve like clockwork during the peak awards seasons.

Several dozen blocks surrounding  these venues are cordoned off to commuter and local traffic

During awards season,  major A list stars often need a cavalcade of cars not only for themselves but for their bodyguards and entourage. The minimum rental period is eight consecutive hours and prices range from $130 – $300 per hour, depending on the vehicle rented. Most popular vehicle rentals are the Lincoln Stretch Limos, Sedans and SUVS. However, the now popular MBZ Sprinter Specialty Vans gets requested every year.

On-site parking and vehicle coordination is conducted with almost military precision.  Some awards shows have LAPD security checkpoints with bomb sniffing dogs and swat teams, while others rely on a lighter detail of a few squad cars and a few plain clothes undercover policeman.

Parking space is limited to offsite lots near the venues and spaces are purchased ahead of time.  Each of the many limo companies working the event end up paying top dollar for large swaths of empty lot to fill with their vehicles. At some awards show, there can be around 400 to 700 cars  parked at offsite staging lots  and thousands more scattered on the side streets of LA. Each “show car” works with a number call tag system. A call tag number is given to the client and the driver.  After the show, on-site red carpet reps coordinate with parking lot reps to call forward the drivers based on their call tag number.  This is when the chaos starts and drivers and clients must be matched.

Some companies have on-site staff, who go around with a bottle of quick detailer a  microfiber towels and detailer brush making sure that the inside and outside of the vehicle stays immaculate at all times.  Others employ an on-site mechanic in case of any mechanical problems.

Chauffeurs often carry an emergency travel kit as well.  Their “jump bag” contains everything from shoe polish and make- up kits to mouthwash and sewing kits.  Sometimes even knowing the closest boutique liquor store that sells that special brand of European cigarettes can impress clients.  Every extra mile the drivers go for their clients can earn them big cash tips, some as large as $900 with the smallest tips being $20

Many larger to mid size boutique limo companies in LA may have as many as 60 cars working any given awards show, but all will have to sub-contract out to many smaller companies and owner operators at some point in time.  While most clients book ahead many wait until the last minute and request a car within days of the awards show season.

While the limo industry can be fiercely competitive, it is during the busy awards seasons that you will see a spirit of cooperation. Smaller companies often depend on  “the big five” companies on awards nights and vice versa.  Since almost every car in town is booked, they need to figure out how to help each other out and put egos and pettiness aside.  Most operators know that the head honcho in charge of procuring transportation for the next year’s award season may be sitting in the back of their car. These contracts can mean millions of dollars worth of work a year.

 

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Ride Sharing Services Attempt to Get the ‘Lyft’!

A and E Adir Katzin demonstrating ride sharing in a limoAbout a year ago, we posted an article about the dilemma facing both the Southern California limousine and taxi services in regards to the introduction of ride sharing services like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.

For those unfamiliar with the situation, these various ride sharing systems operate as a series of Smartphone apps for iOS, Android and other cell phone operating systems. The idea is that by using these apps, customers can ‘hail a cab’ online and a driver, usually unregistered with the State of California would pick up the customer and drive him or her to their destination.

Since that time, the controversy has escalated. Back in June of 2014, the Los Angeles City Council threatened half the operations of all Southern California based ride-sharing services. Even with the “ban”, these companies continued to operate their smartphone apps and provided rides all over the Los Angeles region. From LAX to nightclubs, the pink mustached vehicles of Lyft and similar ridesharing services were utilized everywhere.

As of September 18, 2014, a landmark decision has been reached rendering California the first state in the nation to legally regulate these ride-sharing apps and services. According to a press release from the California Public Utilities Commission, the regulations establish a new category of business called a Transportation Network Company, requiring those companies to obtain a license from CPUC, conduct criminal background checks, establish a driver training program, and hold a commercial insurance policy with a minimum of $1 million per-incident coverage.

While this decision is being hailed by the independent companies as an enormous victory, opening their relatively new foothold in the door even wider, taxi and limousine companies need not despair just yet.

Reading both the nuts and bolts of the argument and the comments, what stands out again & again is the issue of customer service.

These upstart companies (Lyft, and the rest) are succeeding because they are new and fresh. They are actually listening to what the public wants and needs and delivering it. Cars are clean, drivers are friendly, rates are affordable.

The taxi industry as a whole has had a bad rep for years but consumers have had no other choices. Due to their monopoly on the market, taxi drivers have become increasingly slovenly, surly, rude, etc. Overcharging is rampant. Drivers have been able to rest on their laurels because they know passengers are stuck with them and had no other options.

Limo companies are kind of lost in the shuffle between the two, but taking a limo or a Town Car has always signified class and a level of upscale service which has remained consistent throughout this “battle”. Limos are also surprisingly affordable, but that never crosses anyone’s mind.

If either company wants to succeed, customer service must be put at the forefront. Taxi drivers have the experience but not the attitude. Lyft has the friendliness, the cleanliness and the care, but not the professionalism or the finesse of premier limo service. That’s where the biggest edge of limo service comes in.

Consider both sides when making your decision.

Limo service offers these 3 things that ride-sharing services do not:Premier, personalized/vetted chauffeurs with

1. Premier, personalized/vetted chauffeurs with CONSISTENT price.

2.  High-touch customer service and support.High-quality vehicle selection and variety.

3. High-quality vehicle selection and variety.

Consider a limo or a town car first before going for a trendy ride -sharing app.