Archive for December, 2007

How to Screen Rental Limousine Companies

December 30, 2007

You’re putting in a lot of money when you get a rental limousine. It’s only fair that you get quality services plus added benefits to have a great time.

You only need a few simple guidelines to follow to properly screen rental limousine companies. In the end, you’ll be glad to have spent a bit of your time weighing your options and investing only with the best.

How did you get to know the company?

It would be wise to narrow your choices to reputable companies which you have heard of by word-of-mouth or through satisfied references. Although there are new budding ones that offer quality services, it is still safer to invest in a company who has already proven their effectiveness and competence in the business. Research on some of the top rental limousine companies in the area where you’ll be. Also read or hear about testimonials from clients in the past.

How long have they been in business?

Most long-running companies already know how to adjust accordingly to a variety of situations that may arise during your rental. New companies still need a lot of experience to enhance their services and maintain quality for years to come. You’d be better off choosing one that already knows your needs and is able to deliver on schedule.

How are their limousines?

Check the company fleet. How many are there? What’s the average age? How many varieties are there? A good rental limousine company has a fairly young fleet with one or two of the latest models. This means that they are constantly updating to cope with clients’ demands.

You should determine the number of cars in the fleet according to how well they can manage all of it. A very huge fleet does not always bode well since these also need a lot of maintenance. Check the condition of the limousines if you feel they’re good enough to ride in.

How are their drivers?

The company should have a complete record of all their drivers. They should be able to recommend you with a consistent driver who can specifically deliver the tasks essential in your trip or business. Ask how many drivers the company has as well as the track record of the one they’re assigning to you. Screen the driver personally as well before you rent. A one-driver-one-limo policy is a good sign.

How are their policies?

What are the available methods of payment? What condiments are included in the limo? How long will the rental last? Check all the details and documentation of your rental to ensure that everything is covered according to your best interests should anything unexpected happen like accidents, delays, etc. There should also be a refund or reimbursement policy that will cover any losses on your part should they fail to deliver their services well.

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Stolen Limousine Rams DC Police Officer

December 30, 2007

A Washington, D.C. police officer riding on a mountain bike in Northeast Washington, was seriously injured yesterday when the driver of a stolen limousine tried to run down the officer and a partner, authorities said. The driver abandoned the vehicle nearby and remained at large last night.

The officer, who suffered a broken ankle and facial fractures, was being treated at Washington Hospital Center last night. Police did not release the name of the officer, a six-year veteran.

The incident occurred about 4:40 p.m., after the two officers had stopped to talk to youths in an alley in the 4200 block of Ord Street. The driver of the black Cadillac DTS limousine pulled up behind the officers, gunned the car’s engine and barreled toward them, authorities said.

“It just charged toward them at a high rate of speed,” said Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier. The injured officer pushed his partner out of harm’s way. The limousine, which was reported stolen last week from Woodley Park, near the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, was found last night in the 4400 block of Quarles Street NE. The license plates on the vehicle were not registered to the limousine, authorities said.

NYC Taxis Of The Future Could Accept MetroCard Swipe Payments

December 28, 2007

The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission is thinking about creating a kind of unlimited card for cabbies – which is just one of a long list of recommendations put forth in a taxi-industry study, TLC officials announced yesterday. This could be a portent of the future, where taxis could accept MetroCards.

Commission Chairman Matthew Daus announced the completion of the two-year, $150,000 report by the Design Trust for Public Space, which is being contemplated as a potential roadmap to the future for the taxi industry.

“It lays the groundwork for a new generation of taxis and an improved taxi system that we will all enjoy soon,” said Deborah Marton, the executive director of Design Trust. “The TLC can continue the momentum forward armed with the most comprehensive taxi-system analysis and set of recommendations ever set anywhere.”

Some of the study’s recommendations are already in the works, including gas-efficient vehicles, global-positioning systems and touch-screen video technology. But others would be brand new to New York.

In addition to looking at “fare integration” with buses and subways – possibly using the tap-and-go smart-cards currently being tested by the MTA – the report suggests exploring “ride-share fares” for people going the same way. But the report also adds that past ride-share trials have not met with much success in other cities or in New York. The 159-page study also presents a list of alternatives to taxi medallions.

“In London, cabbies have to pass the famous ‘knowledge test’ of the city’s downtown streets, requiring two years of intensive study,” the report states. “This examination, rather than any numerical limit, provides a formidable barrier to entering the taxi market.”

Basic Checks On Your Limousine You Can Do Yourself

December 28, 2007

Limousines are specially-designed vehicles that have historically been known for ferrying the wealthy, top-level corporate executives, movie stars, and figures of royalty.

However,these days,if you can’t own one, since they are quite expensive,you could rent them out for an hour or more, depending on the occasion or event you’re into. Generally, limousines are stretched extensions of a sedan, and allow more legroom for its passengers, as well as having extra added amenities like bars, surround-sound TV and music systems, GPS monitors, revolving seats, and sometimes even a mini-swimming pool.

Standard Preventive Maintenance Tips You Could Do

As vehicles have a motley assortment of parts and components, familiarizing yourself with the vehicles’ main components, would help a lot in giving you adequate info, and helps you in doing some minor repairs on the vehicle. Here are a few vehicle parts and components to check out:

– Tires. Keep your vehicle’s tires inflated to recommended pressure. Check for cuts, bulges and excessive tread wear. Uneven wear indicates tires are misaligned or out of balance.

– Power Steering. Check out the power steering fluid level once per month. Do this by removing the reservoir dipstick. If the level is down, add fluid and inspect the pump and hoses for leaks.

– Transmission Fluid. Check transmission fluid monthly with engine warm and running, and the parking brake on. Shift to drive, then to park. Remove dipstick, wipe dry, insert it and remove it again. Add the approved type fluid, if needed. Never overfill.

– Batteries. Extra care should be taken while handling a battery since it can produce explosive gases. It is advisable not to smoke, create a spark or light a match near a battery. Always wear protective glasses and gloves.

– Brake Fluid. Check the brake fluid monthly. First wipe dirt from the brake master cylinder reservoir lid. Pry off the retainer clip and remove the lid or unscrew the plastic lid, depending on which type your vehicle has. If you need fluid, add the improved type and check for possible leaks throughout the system. Do not overfill.

– Engine Oil. Check the oil after every fill up. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean. Insert it fully and remove it again. If it is low, add oil. To maintain peak performance, the oil should be changed every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. Replace the oil filter with every oil change.

– Shock Absorbers. Be on the lookout for signs of oil seepage on shock absorbers, test shock action by bouncing the car up and down. The car should stop bouncing when you step back. Worn or leaking shocks should be replaced. Always replace shock absorbers in pairs.

– Lights. Ensure that all the lights are clean and working, including the brake lights, turn signals and emergency flashers. Keep spare bulbs and fuses in your vehicle.

If you feel like you need to have your limousine thoroughly checked, you should enlist the services of a professional repair shop that would take good care of your vehicle’s repair needs. Shop for an auto repair shop before you need one, or also ask for recommendations or referrals. Getting a good shop through word-of-mouth is often the best advertising for a professional technician.

How Often Should You Have Your Limousine Tuned Up?

December 26, 2007

A limousine is generally an extended sedan, and this extension is specifically designed to allow for extra space and leg room in the passenger seats, however the extension usually goes far beyond that simple capacity.

Many luxury limousines include such amenities such as drink bars, refrigerators, televisions, and sound systems. These specially-designed vehicles are not made only from sedans, either, as recently many new designs of limousines have been hitting the streets, with everything from extended black SUVs to dependable off-road types like the Humvee.

Whenever you’re driving, or at the backseat of the vehicle, difficult handling, a rough ride, vibration and poor performance are the kinds of symptoms you feel sometimes. When the driving experience doesn’t feel quite right, be on the lookout for some signs of vehicle wera and tear, and learn the methods needed to effectively sort out and repair the quirks in a limousine.

How To Effectively Troubleshoot A Limo’s Technical Problems

There are many aspects you need to fully learn, in order to prevent seeing further damage to your vehicles’ many technical and machine components. Let’s start with the limo’s engine. It may be time to call in the repair men whenever you feel symptoms such as difficulty starting the engine, rough idling or stalling, poor acceleration, poor fuel economy, excessive oil use (more than one quart between changes), or when the “check engine” light on the instrument panel is lit

the transmission, poor performance may come from actual component failure or a simple disconnected hose or plugged filter. Make sure that the technician checks the simple items first; transmission repairs are normally expensive. For steering wheel problems, experiencing difficulty steering in a straight line can be probably caused by misaligned front wheels and/or worn steering components such as the idler arm or ball joints.

The limo’s tendency to steer to the left or right, can be caused by something as simple as under-inflated tires, or as serious as a damaged or misaligned front end. For ride and handling issues, worn-out shock absorbers or other suspension parts can contribute to poor cornering characteristics. Also check for proper tire inflation. While there is no easy rule about when to replace shock absorbers or struts, do this test: bounce the vehicle up and down hard at each wheel and then let go.

See how many times the vehicle bounces. Weak shocks will allow the vehicle to bounce twice or more. Overloading your vehicle may also damage your springs. Vehicle tires always should be properly balanced. An unbalanced or improperly balanced tire will cause the vehicle to vibrate and may prematurely wear steering and suspension components.

Steps Needed To Avoid Costly Repairs

One of the best methods of keeping a limousine in constant good shape, is to follow the respective limo manufacturer’s maintenance schedules, by checking out your owner’s manual. However, if you do not have an owner’s manual, try calling the manufacturer to obtain one, or ask for a recommended maintenance schedule.

Some repair shops create their own maintenance schedules, which sometimes requires more frequent servicing than recommended by the manufacturer. Try to check and compare shop maintenance schedules with those written in your owner’s manual. Ask the shop to explain, as well as make sure you understand why it recommends service beyond the usual recommended schedule.

New Zealand Limousine Purchase Sends Wrong Climate Change Message

December 26, 2007

New Zealand Climate Change Minister, David Parker, is reported as saying that the change in new Government limousines from the Ford Fairlane to diesel BMW 730Ld cars was because the Government “walks the talk” on sustainability, leading it to purchase the German BMW car. This decision is said to have been made because of the cars considered, the BMW was the most fuel-efficient and the second-best in emission standards.

The reported fuel consumption saving is actually quite modest, from 10.21 litres/100km (27.7 mpg) for the Ford Fairlane to 8.1 litres/100km (34.9 mpg) for the BMW, and the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is reported to be from 260 to 212 grams per kilometre travelled.

“The catch is that the BMW cars are reported to cost the Government nearly twice as much as the Ford Fairlane, and that sends entirely the wrong message on climate change mitigation measures” said John Blakeley, Editor of EnergyWatch, the journal of the Sustainable Energy Forum.

Blakeley said that the correct message on climate change mitigation which the Government should be conveying is that by being clever and using the latest available technology, it is possible to make considerable energy savings and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions at little or no extra cost.

“It would be a quite ridiculous position for the Government to say that a saving of about 2.1litres/100km (7 mpg) in fuel consumption justifies spending almost twice as much money on the purchase of Ministerial cars” Mr Blakeley said.

“The Government should be urging all New Zealanders to take many actions which result in significant savings in their energy consumption without them incurring much additional cost, and should be setting it’s own example in doing this when it purchases new limousines” Blakeley added.

Wisconsin Limousine Safe Ride Program Faces Challenge

December 21, 2007

Two tavern owners in a Wisconsin town have began offering a fun and safe transportation option for Heart of the Valley residents heading out for nights on the town.

Tavern owners Brian and Rick Schuh introduced the Road Crew drunken-driving prevention program after securing a $35,000 grant from the Wisconsin State Patrol’s Bureau of Transportation Safety.

Brian Schuh owns Little Chute’s Pine Street Bar. His father, Rick Schuh, owns the Schuh Shanty Bar and Grill in Kaukauna. On Thursday through Saturday nights, a bar patron can be picked up at home by limousine, taken to taverns throughout their service area and returned home later that night. It costs $20 per person and $30 per couple. One-way rides are offered for half the cost. They’ll also bring the baby sitter home once the night is through. Road Crew has given more than 2,700 rides since its debut.

Early successes led organizers to expand the program to Thursday nights. While organizers are pleased by their progress, the program still faces some significant challenges. Lykke Jome-Weigman, director of the program, said Road Crew used up its grant funding and organizers are in the process of finding additional sponsors to keep their limousines rolling.

Organizers are also hoping the always busy holiday season will help them build a bigger customer base. “We’re hoping people will use it more frequently,” she said.

Jome-Weigman said they still get a number of riders trying the program for the first time. Their customer base has primarily been those 28 and older, though they’ve also had many younger riders.

New Zealand Ministers Will Soon Use New “Green” BMW Limousine

December 21, 2007

The future New Zealand Prime Minister could race to rugby tests in the same Hydrogen-powered BMW limousine that actor Brad Pitt uses to get to movie premieres.

Having just won the government limousine contract, BMW has offered ministers an exclusive test-drive of the BMW Hydrogen 7 in Melbourne next month.

The Hydrogen 7 is the German company’s next step in “green” cars from the 34 diesel-powered limousines ministers and other dignitaries will soon be ferried about in.

The Hydrogen 7 is much-hyped – the 100 produced have been loaned or leased to high-profile “green ambassadors” such as Brad Pitt, who took one to the Oceans 13 premiere in Hollywood this year.

They are not for sale and have no shelf-price. The hydrogen engine is a step away from fossil fuels, and the cars discharge almost nothing but water vapor. They require hydrogen stations to fill up – and New Zealand has none.

BMW New Zealand spokesman Piers Scott said it had invited Government ministers and Opposition members to try the car, although he would not give names. Government officials, environmental opinion-leaders and media would also be invited.

Limousine Owners To Challenge Toronto Council Decision On Airport Pickups

December 14, 2007

Toronto airport limousine owners are now considering all their options, including a court challenge, after the City Council’s decision to bar them from picking up passengers in Toronto after Feb. 1.

“We’re not going to sleep,” Louis Vittas said yesterday, speaking for the Airport Limousine Owners Association. “We’ll be back.” Toronto cabs complain it’s unfair they’re not allowed to pick up passengers at the airport, while limousines licensed by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority regularly pick up passengers in the city after delivering fares from the airport.

To even the playing field, Toronto plans to block airport limos from picking up passengers in the city. Council’s decision on the issue was made late Wednesday night. Franz Hartmann of the Toronto Environmental Alliance said he’s not an expert in the long-running regulatory dispute between city and airport vehicles, but that empty vehicles aren’t good for the environment. “If a car’s going to deliver a passenger at the airport, they should then have the capacity to deliver a passenger downtown,” Hartmann said in an interview.

“From an environmental perspective, the city should be saying: What can we do to ensure cars driving back and forth between the airport always have passengers in them?” But Mayor David Miller said, “It’s completely unfair that somebody who gets a licence in Mississauga can pick people up in Toronto, and not the other way around. That’s not right. We have to protect the people who work for us.”

Asked whether the result will be more greenhouse gas emissions, he called that “very unfair analysis,” since Toronto cabs are already forced to return empty and their drivers struggle to make a living.

Bright Prospects Seen For Chauffeured Transport

December 14, 2007

The plump Lincoln Town Cars that provide a ride as soft as a pillow are clogging city streets and airport access roads these days – a sign that the $2.4 billion chauffeured transportation business in the United States is doing well, particularly with corporate customers.

“Chauffeured cars are no longer considered such a luxury,” said Scott A. Solombrino, chief executive and owner of Dav El, the second-biggest limousine company. “They’re an efficiency tool mostly for highly paid executives who often don’t have time to rent a car.”

Perhaps the biggest indication of the bright long-term prospects for chauffeuring services is the Avis Budget Group’s recent $60 million investment in Carey International, the industry leader with 2006 revenue of about $250 million.

Part of the lure was Carey’s stake in the corporate market, which, according to Gary L. Kessler, Carey’s chief executive, represents more than 80 percent of its business. The Avis purchase was definitely noticed on both sides of the street: the rental-car companies searching for new ways to grow and chauffeured entrepreneurs who envy the marketing prowess and deep pockets of the big rental car brands.”We’re entering a huge period of consolidation,” Mr. Solombrino said.

The strong market in the United States comes at a time when the major growth is overseas, according to Camella Lobo, a senior editor at Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation magazine, which tracks the industry. As American companies go global, their managements look for the same services abroad as they get at home, she said.