Archives for regulations

Bad Regulations and Worse Responses Part 3 – Invasion of the TNCs

These past five years, practically unnoticed until this last one, have witnessed the most radical change in public transportation since the introduction of scheduling software in the Early 90s: The invasion of traditional, analog services wallowing in their nostalgia by hyper- [or uber]-digital counterparts big on access, low on some concerns, and flying beneath virtually every City’s and State’s regulatory radar. The new kids on the block, self-proclaimed Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), began in taxi form roughly seven years ago, as a vision in Paris. In September, 2013, New York City’s Uber fleet contained only 500 vehicles. Last year –

Bad Regulations and Worse Responses Part 7: Conclusions

This final installment of this series provides the rewards for reading the first six: Starting-point ideas about things the motorcoach industry can do defend its density against intrusion from Transportation Network Companies (like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar), which have already begun plunging into the charter and tour sectors, mostly with medium-sized, body-on-chassis vehicles. It also includes things that would help increase profits and create new service opportunities – and compete with new, legitimate players penetrating the market. In stating this, my research into TNCs, and particularly my experience attending the last BusCon Conference and reviewing a year’s worth of Limousine,

Bad Regulations and Worse Responses, Part 6: Industry and Association Responses

As NATIONAL BUS TRADER readers following this series have noted, our judicial system seems to be “running the table” with TNC-related issues. The $220,000,000 settlement of a case against FEDEX effectively eliminated the notion of an “independent contractor” in its six states. And the California courts are soon likely to boot out Uber. The FEDEX case in the U.S. Court’s 10th Circuit effectively rippled a TNC’s ability to deprive its drivers of a regular employee’s costly array of fringe benefits. This settlement is likely to soon play out in the other nine “Circuit” encompassing the other 44 states. And if

Bad Regulations and Worse Responses, Part 4: Judicial Heroism

Well, by now, the “Cat’s Out of the Bag” about Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). For this, we owe our thanks to National Bus Trader, Limo, Charter and Tours magazine (especially) and the United Motorcoach Association. The August 15, 2015 issue the UMA-sponsored Bus & Motorcoach News contained two articles about these previously-unfettered robot-controlled beasts.             For those readers who may think this virus could not spread to the charter and tour sectors of our industry, think again. Just yesterday I received a call from an attorneys’ paralegal about a “limo case.” As it turned out, this “limo” was an 18-passenger

Bad Regulations and Worse Responses, Part 5: Executive Branch Responses

Practically beginning my public transportation career as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Transportation, I learned to hate “Wash-Speak.” Government agencies do not compound things; they exacerbate them. They use nothing, but utilize everything. They never start anything, yet implement everything. And much-ado-about nothing is usually referred to as a paradigm shift.               As National Bus Trader readers may have learned from the last installment, our  judicial system recently made mincemeat of the “Independent Contractor” model in a Federal Circuit Court decision, overruling a Kansas Supreme Court decision.[1] I expect this decision to be replicated around the country

Bad Regulations and Worse Responses, Part 4: Judicial Heroism

Well, by now, the “Cat’s Out of the Bag” about transportation network companies (TNCs). For this, we owe our thanks to National Bus Trader, Limo, Charter and Tours Magazine (especially) and the United Motorcoach Association. The August 15, 2015 issue of the UMA-sponsored Bus & Motorcoach News contained two articles about these previously-unfettered, robot-controlled beasts. For those readers who may think this virus could not spread to the charter and tour sectors of our industry, think again. Just yesterday I received a call from an attorneys’ paralegal about a “limo case.” As it turned out, this “limo” was an 18-passenger

Bad Regulations and Worse Responses, Part 2: The Rise, Fall and Transformation of Supershuttle

        Mitchell Rouse! In the 1980s, a strapping, 6’4″-inch-tall visionary who had inherited a 50-vehicle taxicab company and, within a few years, expanded it into a 350-vehicle leviathan, along with eight small paratransit operations. With a heavily-computerized operation a decade before Windows took over the World, his dispatch office still answered every call with a live Earthling. Wilmington/Checker Cab was all about decency, respect and efficiency. And at a time when most of Los Angeles County was beginning to deteriorate rapidly into lines, menus, incompetence and traffic. Yet, as a brilliant manager with an expanding corporate mentality, Rouse was also a

Bad Regulations and Worse Responses: Part 1 – Introduction

            Like every mode of public transportation, and for almost every aspect of our society, the motorcoach industry has, over the decades, been affected significantly by regulations. Some of these experiences were challenging yet produced dramatic results that, among other benefits, have saved us money. One terrific example is  that modern motorcoaches dump perhaps one percent of the particulates into our environment than they did a mere two decades ago. Here, the regulations, though challenging, were at least realistic. But our industries’ (and other bus modes’) responses to it – effectively our engine manufacturers –