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Friday, February 29, 2008

ALL BLACK CARS TO TURN GREEN

NEW YORK CITY -- The long lines of sleek black cars that idle outside
corporate headquarters as they wait to shuttle executives from meeting
to meeting, will become more environmentally friendly under a plan
announced on Wednesday by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Under the plan, the entire fleet of roughly 10,000 limousines, mostly
black, that are used by businesses ranging from Lehman Brothers to
Condé Nast, would be required to meet fuel-efficiency standards,
attainable only with hybrid vehicles, of 25 miles a gallon in 2009 and
30 miles a gallon in 2010. Currently the cars average 12 to 15 miles a
gallon and add 272,000 tons of heat-trapping gases to the air each
year, or about 2 percent of the city's transportation-related
emissions, according to the city.

Officials expect the new standards to cut emissions in half, in part
because the more fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles switch to battery
power when they idle.

"While yellow cabs are constantly on the move, black cabs actually
spend a decent amount of time just sitting and waiting for their
client to come out," Mayor Bloomberg said.

The plan, part of Mr. Bloomberg's overall program to make the city
more environmentally sound in the coming decades, is to go before the
NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission for approval at a hearing on
Thursday, April 10, 2008 and includes a requirement that the so-called
black cars be replaced every six years, a way of ensuring that almost
all of them would meet the new standards by 2013.

"It is to the great credit of black-car industry leaders that they
have collectively embraced Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to reduce harmful
emissions," said Matthew W. Daus, the taxi and limousine commissioner.

The city has already begun phasing hybrids into its fleet of 13,000
yellow cabs, and Mayor Bloomberg said officials were working to devise
a plan for the roughly 40,000 livery cabs that serve neighborhoods,
especially outside Manhattan, where other taxis are scarce.

Mayor Bloomberg said he expected drivers to support the proposal
because it would bring them more business and save them thousands of
dollars in fuel costs each year. Increasingly, he said, the companies
that use the cars, which are summoned to specific locations rather
than being hailed in the street, are demanding the greener vehicles.

The mayor's plan would also include incentives like tax breaks and
low-cost-financing options to make it easier for the drivers, many of
whom must buy their cars, to afford the higher down payments needed
for hybrid vehicles.

Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers are working with a black-car
company, Executive Transportation Group, to help provide low-interest
loans for hybrid-vehicle purchases. Best Ford Taxi and Hudson
Toyota/Penske Automotive Group have said they would offer favorable
financing packages to the drivers. And the city is asking the state to
approve the waiver of sales taxes on purchases

Thursday, February 28, 2008

2008 Camry Hybrid

Toyota Camry Hybrid Ranks #3 in Affordable Midsize Cars
Overall Score - 8.7 (Very Good)
Based on U.S. News editors' analysis of 39 leading automotive reviews and test drives, the 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid ranks #3 of 26 in Affordable Midsize Cars and #1 of 6 in Hybrid Cars.


The 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a comfortable cruiser with great fuel economy and plenty of interior features, but as a hybrid car it doesn't have the same performance capabilities of conventional sedans. If you're in the market for an affordable midsize car, you should also consider the conventional Toyota Camry. If you're interested in another hybrid model, consider Toyota's Prius.



The 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid nicely balances performance, comfort and fuel economy, according to most automotive writers. Motor Trend says: "This may be the only car on earth able to satisfy performance junkies and ecoconservatives. It's a uniter, not a divider." Similarly, USA Today challenges, "Try to find some other nice car with honest room for five adults that will give you mid-30s real-world mileage."

However, reviewers say to expect anything but normal performance from the car when compared to other hybrid vehicles. When compared to the Toyota Prius, Newsday reports, "The Prius can't match the Camry's quietness and its elegant ride." The Camry Hybrid also provides more room inside than most eco-friendly vehicles. As the Chicago Tribune states, the car is perfect "for folks who put mileage first but need room for more than one munchkin and a diaper bag."

The 2008 Camry Hybrid is also considered a good value over time. CNN lists the car as one of the most-cost effective hybrids sold today, based on a value equation that weighs its premium against its annual fuel savings. IntelliChoice gives the 2008 Camry Hybrid an "Excellent" value rating, based on the total cost of ownership compared to other vehicles in its class. In previous years many have complained about the Camry Hybrid's inflated price, but for 2008 model has a lower manufacturer's suggested retail price.

Toyota considers the Hybrid the top-of-the-line trim for its conventional Camry; therefore, the car comes fully loaded like the Camry XLE.


Performance Review - 7.4 (Good)

The 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid's green technology ups the ante for a competent sedan. New Car Test Drive says, "The Hybrid is a good performer and one of the most fuel-efficient mid-size vehicles anywhere." continue


Exterior Review - 7.6 (Good)

The Camry Hybrid's physical appeal lies in putting a hybrid vehicle in the conventional Camry's outfit. Newsday writes, "Wrapped around the Camry's gasoline-electric powertrain is a car so appealing - a not too big, not too small vehicle that does virtually everything right - that it's not difficult to understand its popularity." continue


Interior Review - 8.0 (Very Good)

Most report the 2008 Camry Hybrid is a comfortable vehicle that's packed with features. The Los Angeles Times describes the car as "loaded to the gills," while Forbes says its proportions "allow the interior to feel quite spacious, with decent space in front, a rather cavernous trunk and a backseat that's comfortable enough to seat two and just wide enough to fit three smaller folks in a pinch." continue


Safety Review - 9.8 (Excellent)

With a competitive list of safety equipment, the 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid does very well in government crash tests. continue


Reliability Review - NA

We are still compiling data for the predicted reliability of the 2008 Camry Hybrid. However, Toyota offers a three-year or 36,000-mile basic warranty for the car. continue

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday We In the News

The city again could have a single-model taxi fleet as it did when Checker cabs ruled the road, officials said Wednesday as they sought design ideas from the auto industry.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission launched a drive to "bring the next iconic taxi to the city's streets" by formally soliciting input from the automobile industry.

Packages outlining design goals, technical requirements and other data were sent to industry leaders.

"The sky's the limit," TLC Commissioner Matthew Daus said.

The Ford Crown Victoria is the dominant cab on the streets, but its days are numbered.

The Bloomberg administration has imposed escalating miles-per-gallon requirements that will result in the phasing out of the Crown Vic over the next three to five years.

In its outreach, the city is raising the idea of a manufacturer designing and building a vehicle just for cabbies and passengers.

The TLC has a roster of acceptable passenger cars and vans that then must be outfitted with partitions, meters and other industry-specific equipment.

Monday, February 25, 2008

To Green or Not To Green By Frank Gallo

After years of radioactive waste, nuclear power, and tons of other products that destroy the earth, now we are concerned. We do not want our children's kids to start coming out with 12 and three feet as the norm. Let's protect the environment.

The big push is to buy Hybrid vehicles. Save the earth and save money on gasoline right? Well Hybrid vehicles cost anywhere from $3 - $8K extra than the regular base model. For example, a regular base Lexus 350X is about $37,500 (MSRP) and a 400H is about $41,300 (MSRP). Add some options, forget about it. Now let's dig a little deeper. You pay $3,800 more so that you can save on gas money. At a savings of about $400 per year using a Hybrid vehicle, you are going to save $1200 over 3 years (regular driving and assuming you finance the vehicle over 3 years / 36 months).

I am sure that you are saying to yourself that there are so many other advantages to the earth. Did you know that you have to change the battery on your Hybrid vehicle every 3-4 years? Currently they do not know how to dispose of the batter in a way that does not damage the environment. More of a carbon imprint is left trying to dispose of the battery than driving a gas guzzler.

Finally, lack of accelaration (they do not perform the same) and the lighter weight of the vehicle does not make for the safest options, especially during bad weather. Bottom line (my opinion of course) Hybrid technology will evolve and they should be the cars of choice going forward. If you are looking to get a new vehicle in the black car industry, save your money and do not get a luxury Hybrid. A luxury vehicle (hybrid or not) might be beautiful but it is not worth doing the wear and tear for Black Car Rates. In the Black Car Industry, you will make the same exact amount of money using a Toyota Camry Hybrid full loaded as you will with a full loaded Lexus 400H. The rates do not change from Hybrid to regular.

One final note, I do not like that the government is pushing green but not helping individuals make it happen by reducing the other green ....the money it cost to get a Hybrid.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Messy Friday Commute

If you think that driving into the city was bad before, look no further then todays weather in New York. Since 5am ten accidents have already been reported!!1 I've called over 20 drivers to cover reservations for me today with no luck. They are either home sleeping or plowing their driveway. The good thing about it is that passengers will call for to make a reservation and we let them know from the start that their will be delays and that we won't be able to guarantee on-time pick up. Just now we made a pick up in Queens, the passenger has been waiting since 8:15am and got picked up at around 9:30am. Its a perfect time to have an SUV. These luxury sedan fall victim to the weather quickly, and as a driver your car is your investment: So keep yourself home in these messy condition.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

CREATING THE ROADMAP TO THE PERFECT TAXICAB

NEW YORK CITY -- The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC)
today began the distribution of a Request for Information (RFI) to
seek information on ways to bring the next iconic taxi to the City's
streets. The RFI was authored by the TLC and the Mayor's Office in
consultation with Ricardo, Inc., a worldwide authority on automobile
manufacture and design, which was recently engaged by the TLC to work
on the project.

The "Taxi of Tomorrow" project brings together a number of Bloomberg
Administration agencies working toward the initiative's common goals,
including the Mayor's Office of Operations (Jeffrey Kay, Director),
the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (Matthew Sapolin,
Commissioner), and the Economic Development Corporation (Seth W.
Pinsky, President).

The RFI's goal is to gauge from the auto manufacturing industry the
possibility of creating vehicles that incorporate and balance the
different needs of a taxi operating within New York City. NYC intends
to use the information gained from this RFI to inform a process that
will create a blueprint and timeline for bringing new taxicab vehicles
to the streets. This vehicle would meet key elements that would allow
it to serve New Yorkers and visitors alike in every way they seek to
be served by a taxicab. The RFI's executive summary characterizes the
aforementioned elements being explored as:

* Meets highest safety standards
* Superior passenger experience
* Superior driver comfort and amenities
* Appropriate purchase price and ongoing maintenance and repair costs
* Smaller environmental footprint (lower emissions and improved fuel
economy)
* Smaller physical footprint (with more usable interior room)
* Compliance with appropriate Americans with Disabilities Act
requirements, and Iconic design that will identify the new taxi with
New York City

The City is working proactively with all its taxi stakeholders,
including passengers, drivers, and the automotive industry, to develop
a better vehicle," said TLC Commissioner and Chairman Matthew W. Daus.
"We are on the road to building the perfect taxicab and this RFI will
help us to craft the roadmap for the City's 'Taxi of Tomorrow'."

The RFI comes in several parts, a Main Section, which explains the
form that a response should take and specific topics being explored.

* Appendix 1 is a Vehicle Technical Specification that highlights the
technical realities of operating a vehicle as a taxi in NYC and
suggests guidelines to engineers.
* Appendix 2 is a design document that examines the different design
challenges that must be considered when making a vehicle to serve as a
taxicab.
* Appendix 3 explores the value of New York City and highlights
potential upside marketing and brand building associated with having a
presence in the NYC taxi fleet.

The RFI will be heavily distributed among the automotive manufacturing
community and available to the public at: URL
http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/news/taxi_of_tomorrow_intro.shtml.
(Click!)

Deadline for comment is 5 p.m. (EST) Friday, March 7, 2008. The
deadline for final response is 5 p.m. (EST) Monday, April 21, 2008.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) was created in
1971 and is the agency responsible for the regulation and licensing of
more than 150,000 vehicles and businesses, including 13,150 yellow
medallion taxicabs and more than 44,000 medallion taxicab drivers. It
is recognized as the largest and most active taxi and limousine
regulatory body in the United States.

To find out more about the TLC, or to review its rules, regulations
and procedures, we encourage you to visit our official web site at URL
http://www.nyc.gov/taxi (Click!) or call 311 in New York City or
212-NEW-YORK from outside of New York City.

For more information please contact:
Alan J. Fromberg, Deputy Commissioner for Public Affairs
40 Rector Street, 5th Floor
New York N.Y. 10006
Tel: (212) 676-1013
Fax: (212) 676-1101

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Disgruntle Drivers By Fausto Polanco

As a dispatcher I'm in a delicate position when it comes to dealing with drivers. In any business car service business there's going to be drivers you like and drivers you dislike, but I cannot use that to determine what drivers get the good quality jobs compare to the quick local that pays alot less. So with drivers positioning themselves in the system I COULD determine which driver gets the best jobs and which drivers get those petty local jobs. Here is where the problem lies: Driver's believe in the conspiracy notion of getting screwed over from getting the good jobs. It is a theory that is partially true, but not all the time. I've seen it happen many times before: driver books into the midtown zone, position number 1, meaning that this driver is head out to recieve the next live call or reservation from this zone. Next thing you know a reservation comes in and POOF!! the job dissapears. Through our higher technology dispatch system drivers are able to check their position through the use of a black berry. So when they see that a reservation that was there , suddenly dissapear, believe me that driver will call to argue. There will always be discontent drivers because of quality jobs being limited. And drivers that do not trust their dispatchers makes the job alot harder. As a dispatcher you must set the order and distribute work accordingly in order to maintain a happy fleet, but sometime is beyond the control because not all could be happy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

But I Made A Reservation By Frank Gallo

As a sales person in the limo industry for over 12 years I've seen and heard a lot of things. Some stories are unbelievable. Like the time one of the chauffeurs for a former company I worked for urinated outside of an office building of a large pharmaceutical company. The office building was made of windows where you can see out but you cannot see in. The driver did not know this and provided the secretary with a show and a natural window washing. Yeah....some of this stuff you just cannot make up.

Any way, in all the years I've been in the industry, there is one common phrase I always hear. "But I made my reservation yesterday, or last week, etc.". Who did you make your reservation with? I do not mean the operator. I mean which company did you make your reservation with? It is important to know your different companies and service levels. Each company has their own dispatch method and pricing structure. One thing to keep in mind is that when there is bad weather or the president is in town, it does not matter who you call or when you called them.

Below is a quick summary of each to help you. As simple as our industry sounds, there are different categories of service. Each category has a different dispatch method and price structure. Taxi, Car Service, Black Car Service, High end VIP service.

Taxi - Yellow cars - Cash fares. All fares come from the street.

Car service - Reservations are not needed - Identified by the yellow bicycle reflector looking gizmo in the back (also found on taxis). They are allowed to take calls over a radio from their base or a cash fare on the street. Car services must have cameras installed in their vehicle. They are mostly local services in the boroughs. Some famous "Car Services" are Dial 7 (the old Telaviv), Carmel, Olympic (Queens), Hoyt (Astoria). Prices are slightly higher than taxis but lower than Black Car Services.

Corporate Black Car Service - Reservations and car requests are made through a call center. All calls must get dispatched to a driver via a radio or dispatch unit. Black car companies cannot pick up cash fares off the street. With Corporate Black Car Service it does not matter if you call the reservation at the time needed or if you call one week in advance.
Pick-ups in New York City are dispatched 15-20 minutes prior to the scheduled time of the reservation (Out of town reservations are dispatched 1.5 minutes for every mile. For example, if a pick up location is 30 miles away, the vehicle will be dispatched 45 minutes prior to the pick up time). If a call comes up to be dispatched and there are no vehicles available, there will be a delay. Some examples of Black Car companies are Odyssey Transportation Group, Elite, Skyline, Executive Transportation Group, Corporate Transportation Group etc. Fares are higher than a car service and lower than a High-end Company. Keep in mind that since the taxis went on strike and raised their rates, taxi rates are very close to some black car company rates.

In order for you to receive the "guaranteed" on time service, you need a high end, pre-reserved company.

VIP / High-end service has a different dispatching method. Vehicles are taken out of inventory and pre-assigned to a specific reservation well in advance. The vehicle cannot perform other reservations until the new reservation is completed. The reservations are dispatched well in advance. The VIP service is "guaranteed". The VIP service is anywhere from 2 to 4 times the amount of a Black Car company rate. Some examples of VIP companies are BostonCoach, CAREY, DavEl, TriStar Worldwide, etc.

If you are using a black car company, the factors you want to look at to evaluate the company are 1. How long are their delays? 2. When I need a car, what is their availability. 3. How are their drivers and customer service? If you are using a high-end service and they are one minute late, you have every right as a customer to complain.

KNOW THE COMPANY YOU ARE USING AND YOU WILL SAVE YOURSELF TIME AND AGGRAVATION.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday We Are In The News

Driver drops bid to sue family of boy he killed

HARO, Spain (CNN) -- A Spanish businessman withdrew a controversial lawsuit Wednesday against the family of a teenage boy he struck and killed while driving a luxury car.

Tomas Delgado had filed a suit asking the dead boy's parents to pay him €20,000 ($29,400) on the grounds that the collision that killed their teenage son also damaged his Audi A-8.

News of the case sparked outrage in Spain and generated deep sympathy for the parents of 17-year-old Enaitz Iriondo Trinidad. He was riding his bicycle home to a campground when Delgado's car hit and killed him in August 2004.

Hundreds of people descended on a courthouse in northern Spain in a show of support for the boy's parents Wednesday. They broke into applause when word came that Delgado had dropped the suit.

The businessman had insisted in a recent television interview that he was a victim, too. He was not present for a court hearing Wednesday. His lawyer told the court that Delgado felt that the extensive publicity amounted to a public lynching.

Outside the courthouse, the boy's father -- Antonio Iriondo -- told CNN he was content with the decision. Yet he also said his family will explore the possibility of criminal charges against the man.

"This is just the beginning," the father said.

His son was killed as he cycled back from a nearby village to a campground where his family was vacationing.

Iriondo Trinidad's father told CNN he heard the screeching of the car from the campgrounds. The teen was struck from behind and dragged 106 meters (347 feet) along the rural highway, the father said.

A traffic report said Delgado was traveling 113 km per hour (70 mph) in an area where the speed limit is 90 km (55 mph). An independent expert hired by Trinidad's family said Delgado was going 173 km per hour (107 mph).

Shortly after the collision, a judge dismissed criminal charges against Delgado after concluding that he had committed no criminal infraction, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.

The teen's mother, Rosa, told the newspaper that the family was given three days to appeal the judge's ruling, but they were too distraught to pursue it. She also told the newspaper that her family's lawyer advised her and her husband not to pursue criminal charges.

After the collision, Delgado's insurance company paid the family €33,000 ($48,500).

Two years after the wreck, Delgado sued the family for damages to his car and for car rental costs.

The boy's mother told CNN before the hearing that she was indignant that the driver would seek damages after killing her son.

A local prosecutor told reporters that he would take a second look at the case to see whether authorities can file fresh charges against Delgado.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Lincoln MKX

SAN DIEGO -- Can a Ford beat a Toyota in Total Value? Yes! Although Ford Motor Company obtained only four Total Value leadership positions over the past four years, in 2007 Ford has added three additional wins to its collection: the Lincoln MKX, Ford Edge and Expedition EL. The Lincoln MKX is especially worthy, as it outscored the undefeated Lexus RX350. Although the Lexus brand name offers its customers a stronger belief in reliability and durability, the MKX product characteristics and features, specifically in areas as interior design, quality and roominess, offered at a lower price, makes each dollar spent on the MKX a better choice than the RX350.

The San Diego-based research firm Strategic Vision today announced the 2007 Total Value Index[TM] (TVI) results, based on the ratings of new vehicle owners. The calculation of TVI incorporates explicit statements that owners make about value (e.g. expected reliability, expected fuel economy, price paid, expected resale value, etc.). TVI also incorporates the importance of the variables that make up the ownership experience, and it is here that Strategic Vision finds "True Value" - the worth of the attribute weighed against the costs.

Toyota Motor Sales is still the company to beat in customer value; they have had 20 leaders in Strategic Vision's Total Value Index[TM] (TVI) over the past four years. In 2007 they add four more, three for Toyota (Yaris, Yaris hatchback and 4Runner) and one for the Lexus LS430 (the leader in its segment since 2004). "Toyota has preached their foundational messages of quality and reliability consistently over many years, and customers have responded by placing their trust and their money into Toyota products, making Toyota the juggernaut it is today," says Dr. Darrel Edwards, Founder and CEO of Strategic Vision.
American Honda has taken more leadership positions this year than any other corporation with six leading vehicles in five competitive segments. Honda's Total Value winners are the Civic, Civic Hybrid, Accord Coupe, Odyssey, and Ridgeline for Honda and the TSX for Acura. At times Honda's strong quality cues were matched by other competitors, but it was Honda's brand name that was associated with resale value that provided the final reassurance, making Honda the better investment.

Hyundai earned two Total Value wins with the Hyundai Azera and Santa Fe. Although the Hyundai brand name currently does not carry the same level of reassurance that more established brands do, the Azera and Santa Fe both led their segments by providing products high in perceived quality, providing exceptional features, and being exceptionally priced - all supported with Hyundai's warranty.

Kia improved its overall perceived value even though it had no top spots in 2007. Models such as the Kia Amanti, Sedona, Sportage and Sorento all found themselves ranked 2nd or 3rd in Total Value. Executive VP and COO of Kia, Len Hunt has stated that he looks for Kia to be a brand that customers are passionate about - a passion based in integrity and confidence. "Kia products are inspiring its expectations among their customers, delivering security and passion that have allowed Kia to remain near the top in value even though Kia has raised the price of some models," says Alexander Edwards, President of Strategic Vision's Automotive Division.

Volkswagen of America was seen as the best full-line corporation in value overall with two Total Value leaders - Volkswagen Jetta and Audi A3. In addition, Volkswagen and Audi brands consistently delivered what their consumers have wanted for their money. They seem to have responded positively to Volkswagen's repositioning of their vehicle prices, equating the lower price combined with the ability to join the Volkswagen community in overall strong value.

For the second year, GM was the top domestic corporation presenting four 2007 Total Value leaders. The Chevrolet Corvette Coupe and Convertible, GMC Sierra 1500 and Sierra 2500/3500 led in Total Value in their respective segments. Most interesting is Sierra 1500's lead over the Toyota Tundra. As seen in multiple instances in 2007, the Toyota brand name stood for reliability, but the product cues were where the Tundra was slightly behind the Sierra. For the Sierra, GM's new warranty also had a strong impact in reassuring customers that their investment was more secure. Last year, Strategic Vision noted that as GM communicated the right quality cues with a reassuring warranty, it would be positioned for success.

"The customer can perceive exceptional value in vehicles that are more expensive. They get what they want in terms of quality, product characteristics and features, innovation and image," states Dr. Edwards. Value leader MINI Cooper leads its segment for the sixth year. Other winners were the Volvo V50 and Mercedes ML.

"Value isn't simply the cheap alternative, the choice with the largest incentive, or the option with the biggest warranty. Value begins with the promises inherently made by the brand name, is then supported by the economic implications of purchase, and is ultimately defined by and ends with the product quality cues," Alexander Edwards concluded. "With so many high quality choices today and new choices coming (perhaps) from places like China in the future, understanding how brand equity combined with the right product will be the keys to success in tomorrow's market."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Accessible Dispatch System - General Introduction


What it is: In November 2007, the TLC approved the Accessible Dispatch System pilot project to try out a central dispatch system for wheelchair accessible vehicles. It is a two-year demonstration (pilot) project. Its purpose is to match passengers who use wheelchairs with accessible vehicles. This project is a chance to test dispatching technology, measure demand for wheelchair accessible vehicles, and determine how to best provide accessible service. During the project, there will be public updates monthly at Commission meetings.

How it works: This system links wheelchair passengers with accessible vehicles through a central dispatcher. Passengers call 311 to request the service. 311 connects the passenger to the dispatcher. The dispatcher collects the passenger's pick-up location and request for service. Then the dispatcher communicates electronically with participating drivers. The closest available driver accepts the dispatch and picks up the passenger.

Who is working on it: The TLC has partnered with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, the Mayor’s Office of Operations, and the Department of Information Technologies and Telecommunications to create this program. Owners of wheelchair accessible vehicles, drivers, and passengers who use the system are crucial to the project.

When: The program will start in spring 2008.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Comprehensive Maintenance: A key to successful limo business By: Eliza Maledevic


To become successful in this field, a livery operator must be
equipped with unrivaled marketing strategies, dedication, and a
strong passion to serve his customers to the fullest.

But first of all, he must determine which brand of limousine is
best suited for his business. Selection must be determined based
on the manufacturer's capability to deliver reliable units and
its ability to render after sales service. He must choose
limousine dealers who understand that in the limousine industry
time saves money so that service is a priority the unit once it
gets back to the shop for quick repair and be back on road the
soonest possible.

Being a successful livery operator does not end in having a
reliable fleet of limousines. He must have a keen sense of
customer service by giving his client a luxurious and dependable
transportation.

In order to do this, he must see to it that he has a superior
maintenance program that is highly organized and aggressive. It
is best if he employs a team of technicians to perform routine
maintenance 7 days a week. This includes rigid "bumper to
bumper" inspection and oil change every 2,500 miles. The team
must personally inspect each and every vehicle, pay special
attention to tires, suspension systems, interior lighting, cell
phones or 2-way radios and other paraphernalia that their
clients might need while in transport.

Aside from having mechanics to keep the fleet in top shape, he
must likewise have a team of detailers see to it that the
vehicles always look good inside and out.

In the limousine industry, a superior maintenance program,
combined with passion and dedication, can propel livery
operators to boundless success. As long as they recognize the
importance of surpassing customer expectations, they will
continue to perch in that pedestal of success.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Black Car Services Going Worldwide

Consumers of the Black Car Industry are now looking at the type of services that they can receive. Many clients travel across the globe to meet their clients and with that,the black car industry is looking on getting affiliation across the globe. As a New York based company many clients request services in cities outside the tri-state including other countries on the other side of the globe. This expansion will allow the black car industry to keep their costumers and built relationships with other vendor of the same mind frame. This expansion will ultimate allow these black car companies to establish more coverage to other companies that aren’t even based in the city that they primarily service. Keeping the clients happy through worldwide service has become of an adjustment due in part to the September 11 attacks when many companies moved to other cities and even countries. So with an already establish connection adjustments had to be made. There are several successful businesses that deal in worldwide coverage. Here are links of a few.

www.odysseyny.com
www.tristarworldwide.com
www.bostoncoach.com
www.bookalimo.com


These are some of the successful services that will provide anything from a luxury sedan to a 57-passenger coach bus. Any limitation that a company is faced with should over extend their boundaries and built on greater, because today's clients are not conform to the idea that not everything is possible to attain, just like the world wide web, the black car industry has transportation expansion ahead of them.

Need transportation anywhere in the world? Send me an email at: insideblackcar@gmail.com

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Road To Success

Preparation is the key to a successful business. I always like to look at the phrase "failing to prepare, is preparing to fail" kinda of cheesy, I know. But in regards to a business, I take myself as an example, due to my lack of understanding on how to manage a fleet of car, I've been side tracked on being able to attain more cars, expand my business. I'm pretty sure if I were to point out my mistakes, (when I first started), I would be 5-6 cars into my business.

Through Trial and Error: Like my friends always tell me.

I understand now that in order to continue down this road I'll have to:

1. Learn from my early mistakes. (Whether they be bringing in an inexperience driver or putting down unneccessary money in my initial deal signing.)

and

2. Simplyfing things. I know that dealing with money isnt easy (specially to somebody that never dealt with much money), But regardless of the amount of money, common sense tells you if in an investment your losing money instead of gaining, Consider that a bad investment and count your loses.

PS...Sorry for the late Blog--> I PASSED my Driver's test---> My Road to Success continues :)

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hot in the bitter Cold

As the Democratic primaries continues to boil, NY is in a bitter deep freeze. I woke up and it was eleven degrees!!! With wind chill factors setting conditions below zero!!!

Now I'm no meteorologist: But this Winter has been a disaster to say the least. I gotta stay on Theraflu, Halls, and herbal tea supplements. One day its upper 50's and the next day its in the single digits. Global Warming my Arse!!

This is very much relevant to the Black Car industry, because, honestly who likes to walk in the cold. What becomes frustrating is passengers that take cabs down five blocks. Not because they got a stack load of documents, not because of any handicap issues, its due to the cold weather.

This one lady who's name will remain anonymous, (wouldnt want to get myself in trouble with my employer), she only makes reservation when its cold or raining, adding to the already many reservation on the screen. Oh the life of a dispatcher!

I dont expect for today to be any different. God bless me with patience :)


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Monday, February 11, 2008

Setting Up A Taxi Service In New York by: Vanessa Doctor



Starting your own taxi or private vehicle rental firm, is by no
means a quite tough task, as there are a lot of regulations and
guidelines to follow in operating and running this type of
transport business, and the rules may differ with each state or
city.

In the city of New York , the famous taxicabs, with their
distinctive yellow paint, are a world-renowned social icon.
These taxicabs are operated by private companies and are
licensed by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

New York's Taxi And Limousine Commission

Considering that the city of New York is a very large metro
area, there has to be a viable, and tough regulatory agency to
handle the city's really large transport sector. The New York
City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) was established in
1971, and was given jurisdiction over the city's medallion
(yellow) taxicabs, livery cabs, "black cars", commuter vans, and
some luxury limousines.

The TLC was organized to deal with the growing number of
drivers, as well as to address issues that are vital to the
well-being of the taxi and livery industries. The taxi
commission was formerly known as the New York City Hack Bureau,
and it operated under the control of the New York City Police
Department.

New,Eco-Friendly Trends In NYC's Taxis

New York city recently introduced new regulations, and offered
new incentives as well, to replace its current yellow cabs with
electric hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape
Hybrid.

In the spring of 2007, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a
five-year plan to make the city's taxicabs switch to more
fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles as part of a plan to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. Around 90% of New York's 13,000 yellow
cabs are Ford Crown Victoria types. This proposal will help to
reduce greenhouse gas emission equal to removing 32,000 private
cars from the road

Taxi Fares In The Big Apple

Taxi fares in New York City, as of 2006, have been pegged at
$2.50 ($3.00 after 8:00 p.m., and $3.50 during the peak weekday
hours of 4:00â€"8:00 p.m., and the increments are based on the
distance traveled and time spent in slow traffic. The passenger
also has to pay the fare whenever a cab is driven through a
toll.

The city's cab drivers are not allowed to use cell phones while
ferrying passengers, even if they use a hands-free headset. It
is estimated that around 241 million passengers rode in New York
taxis in 1999, and the average cab fare in 2000 was $6.

How To Start An NYC Taxi Service

Starting a taxi service is not as easy as it may seem. For
starters, there are a lot of important steps that need to be
thoroughly followed, to guarantee you will be able to properly
operate such a business. The first step towards running a taxi
business, Is to acquire a license to drive a taxi. This process
begins at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the department
issues a particular license to drive this types of vehicles.

Next, find out how the city regulates the taxi industry. The
only way to find out is to make a visit to city hall and ask
this question. By asking this, you will probably come away with
a great deal of information regarding this service.

Third, verify who licenses the taxi firms. New York requires the
units to have a medallion located on the outside of the car. You
also need to get in touch with someone from the Department of
Transportation, as they will be able to assist you with this
concern.

Once you've talked to the ones concerned, and fill in the
appropriate forms and get the permits, you're ready to roll out
and ready to join the rat race. The city's streets may look like
they're eternally clogged, however, with some deft maneuvering
and good management, you'll find out that operating a taxi
service here is worth the hassles associated with the Big Apple.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

FINDING A GOOD MECHANIC by Tim Bryce


Years ago we used to use the local "service station" for basic car repairs, such as tune-ups, lube jobs, tire rotations, oil changes, etc. There was usually a senior guy there who you trusted to take care of your car, and if he didn't know how totake care of a problem, he would know someone reliable who could. But local service stations disappeared as the price of gasoline escalated and replaced by mini-marts that also happento sell gasoline.
Today you basically have four choices for taking care of your car; do it yourself, dealerships, service centers, and independent mechanics. Sure, you can still repair your automobile yourself, if you have the time and inclination to do so, but cars have become more complicated over time, as well as over-engineered, making them much more difficult to work on than years ago. You can also take it to the dealership where it is typically "hit or miss" in terms of getting good workmanship. More troublesome to consumers though is when they go in for one thing to be fixed, and the dealership recommends five more things; I call this "harvesting" of the consumer by the dealership, others call it a "shakedown," but it is an expensive proposition nonetheless.
Service centers are usually run by tire companies who also try to "harvest" the consumer by selling new tires at every opportunity. I also don't find the mechanical workmanship to be very good at these places. I had a mechanic at one of the secenters replace a worn belt on my engine. Unfortunately, he puton a new belt backwards which caused the water pump to spin backwards causing the car to overheat and make a strange squeaky noise. It took me a long time to figure out what was wrong. I took it to an independent mechanic who appeared to be reputable.He thought the transmission was breaking down and that I should replace it, at considerable cost. I took it to another who thought there was a problem with the engine seals. I finally took it to a mechanic who studied the problem and discovered that the belt was simply on backwards and rather inexpensive to correct.
To me, auto repair is about trust. If I trust the expertise ofthe company or individual working on my car, I will gladly paythem whatever they ask. But if the trust is broken by either a mechanical snafu or harvesting of the consumer, I'm going to pick up my marbles and go somewhere else, and blacklist those who have wronged me, as well as tell my friends about them. I have seen a lot of mechanics come and go in my area. Those that are out to make a quick buck rightfully don't last very long. But those who are honest and conscientious about their work are worth their weight in gold (such as the mechanic who figured our my belt problem). If you find such a mechanic, hold on to him and tell your friends about him. Without such support, these craftsmen of the auto world will eventually disappear. When we go into service shops, we want to believe they will maintain our best interests like they did at the service stations of yesteryear. In reality, most are interested in only maintaining their own interests and consumers are crest fallen when we discover this, usually too late. Perhaps what is needed is an independent consumer rating system implemented over the Internet whereby we can grade the companies and people who service our cars. Without such a watchdog, we will inevitably goon spending good money for bad service.


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Thursday, February 7, 2008

NYC cabbies survive 'Operation: Secret Rider'

Thursday February 07, 2008, 4:30 AM

Undercover inspectors are finding cabbies largely play by New York City's rules when it comes to cell phones.
Inspectors and police officers have taken more than 1,200 rides disguised as everyday passengers since "Operation: Secret Rider" began Jan. 23. Taxi & Limousine Commission officials said Wednesday that fewer than 100 summonses for cell-phone use have been issued so far.
TLC Chairman Matthew Daus said he is encouraged, but the initiative will continue.
The undercover agents look for drivers talking on cell phones while the cab is moving, refusing to accept credit cards or otherwise violating regulations.
Representatives of the Taxi Workers Alliance, an advocacy group, called the program sneaky and disrespectful to drivers

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

CHRYSLER CEO: WE ARE BACK

CHICAGO, IL -- Chrysler on Monday idled production at four assemblyplants amid a dispute with Plastech over the auto maker's access totooling at Plastech plants. Plastech filed for bankruptcy protectionlate Friday after Chrysler canceled its contracts with the supplier.The plants reopened Tuesday afternoon after Chrysler and Plastechreached an interim agreement, valid until Feb. 15, that restored shipments of Plastech components for Chrysler. Plastech, which wasseeking financial help from its biggest customers, claims that it was forced into bankruptcy by Chrysler's decision to cancel contracts, aclaim that Chrysler refutes. Chrysler Chief Executive Robert Nardelli said Wednesday the company is going to continue with its plan to move its parts contracts away from Plastech Engineered Products Inc. to other suppliers."This was not hard-ball tactics, it was a solid business practice,"Nardelli said on the sidelines of the Chicago Auto Show, referring toits decision last week to pull contracts with Plastech. "We nevermeant to create an adversarial relationship with Plastech or any othe rsuppliers."On Wednesday, Nardelli said that Chrysler hadn't adopted "hammer and nail" tactics. He said Plastech had informed Chrysler that the cost of business was going to go up and that the auto maker determined it couldn't afford to do that."We have to stay competitive. Our customers expect that," Nardellisaid. " Obviously if they're not financially sound, we certainly aren't in the business of subsidizing. No hard feelings, no animosity,just solid business practices."Nardelli, the former CEO at Home Depot Inc. (HD), took over the top post at Chrysler last year after the struggling auto maker was acquired by Cerberus Capital Management LP. Under its new management, Chrysler has adopted a tougher stance in its dealings with suppliers as it focuses more on cash flow than earnings. Nardelli said that Chrysler, which is struggling to restore profitability, may be in a better position than its competitors because of actions to scale back production to match low expectations for sales in the U.S."And if we're wrong (on the sales view), we will have to take other steps," Nardelli said.

TLC Annual Report 2007

The TLC's Annual Report 2007 offers a look at the agency's initiatives for calendar year 2007, as well as the performance of its core missions. During this, the Centennial Year of the traditional, metered taxicab, the TLC enjoyed a particularly active agenda, marking significant advancements in such areas as clean fueled vehicles and accessibility to persons with disabilities, to name a few. We encourage you to read it, and share with us a year of great progress!
TLC Annual Report 2007

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Update New York Giants Parade


The glorious cavalcade kicked off at 11 a.m. when the bells of Trinity Church near Wall Street sounded and soon they were drowned out by the cheers from the delirious crowd that echoed through the Canyon of Heroes.
The Giants faithful - many of whom had descended on downtown well before dawn to stake out primo spots on both sides of Broadway - cheered themselves hoarse.Some brought footballs along and played catch with the players passing by on the floats.
It was the first ticker-tape parade up Broadway since 2000, when the Yankees won the World Series. As many as a million people were expected to witness the celebration.
- Excerpt from an article of the New York Daily News.

How Hybrid Cars Work By Anton Rowd


The Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) also known as the hybrid car is quite the economic wonder. Even as a work in constant progress, the Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology has truly done a lot to improve the gas-dependence situation. Hybrid cars has also saved consumers from having to spend so much on fossil fuels and has even helped save some taxpayer money.
What is it under the hybrid car hood that is seems to set it apart from the other cars? Let’s take a peep and try to take a look at just how these wonders called the hybrid cars work.
A Combination
The secret is in the term, “hybrid.” A hybrid car basically just brings out and maximizes all that fuel economy and consumption and electrical power can do together. By putting together both a gas engine and an electrical motor, the combination permits the car to go back and forth between the energy sources. The usual case in a hybrid car though is that it really depends basically on the battery and electrical motors to run the whole vehicle.
So what is the gas for? Well, the vehicle will still need fuel to run a motor that charges the battery which in turn runs the whole car. But the beauty of this set up is that not much fuel is needed to charge up those batteries; thus, hybrid cars really only need so much fuel to fill their significantly smaller gas tanks and therefore it saves people from having to spend so much money on gas.
Go The Distance
In order to actually see how a hybrid car works, one would have to take one for a spin on a full tank and compare the results in mileage with a car that runs only on gas. One will definitely see the huge difference in cars dependent on electric motors. Going a great distance is achieved by the way the hybrid works. There are 3 essential technologies that allow this to happen.
The first technology in hybrid cars is known as the regenerative braking. This includes an electric engine that applies resistance to the drive train which, in turn, causes the wheels to stop or to slow down. The energy from the wheels turns the engine which in real time acts as a generator and transforms the energy wasted during coasting and braking into electricity. This electricity is then reserved and stored in the battery until it is required by other functions in the electric motor.
The next hybrid car technology used is the elect motor assist which gives additional power to aid the motor in acceleration like in speeding up or ascending higher terrains. This simply means that the smaller engine or electric motor is used. This motor is more efficient that the internal combustion engine that needs and uses up more gas.
Another hybrid car technology is the automatic start and shutdown. When a hybrid car stops for a stoplight, the whole engine shuts down as well. This helps the engine in conserving energy and fuel from running idle. When the vehicle is accelerated again, the engine automatically starts up. When combined, these three hybrid technologies create a vehicle that is simply to reckon with!
Planning to get your own hybrid vehicle? Be sure to get more information on how hybrid vehicles work or get more independent hybrid vehicle reviews from Anton Rowd now.

More Businesses Are Using GPS Vehicle Fleet Tracking :



Technology advancements in the automotive industry have allow smaller businesses to take advantage of GPS vehicle fleet tracking. Businesses who do take advantage of this technology, find themselves making back their investment in a number of various ways.
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) use a network of satellites beaming time-stamped signals to receivers on the surface of the Earth. By measuring the delay between when the signal was sent and when it arrived from three different satellites, you can isolate the coordinates of any receiver on the surface of the earth, with a precision that goes down to inches for military receivers, and about two years for commonly available civilian gear.
GPS equipment has become more and more common as cell phone technology has made it more portable and easier to use. There are many benefits to equip your fleets with GPS tracking technology.
Firstly, GPS equipment, and the monitoring software for it, allows you to have precise locations of delivery vehicles. This makes it possible to route technicians and repairmen and delivery personnel more efficiently, and to let customers know, nearly in real time, about any potential delays in routing or delivery.
Second, because of more accurate data gathered on the movements of vehicles in your fleet, you have better control over mileage, proactive maintenance, and fuel economy. It’s a lot easier to keep track of fuel economy when you can factor in idle times.
In similar vein, you now have an accurate record of where every vehicle in your fleet has traveled over the course of a given day. Your payroll expenses will go down; when you have an accurate log of where every vehicle is at every hour of the day, you can cross reference it against employee time sheets for hours spent driving for reimbursement.
Likewise, most vehicle-tracking GPS software allows you to set a “virtual fence” which lets you tell when a vehicle has gone “out of zone” - this is good for tracking if a vehicle has made an unscheduled detour, or to track it down if it’s stolen.
Many GPS tracking systems will allow users to access the software with a simple web browser. It can be a great marketing coup for a taxicab company to have a web site that shows, as an overlay on Google maps, the location of all cabs reporting in, whether they have a fare and so on - this makes it much easier to schedule a cab pickup, or run a bus route with accurate time stamps for how far ahead or behind a bus is on its scheduled rounds.
All of these make GPS tracking gear for your fleet’s vehicles a worthwhile investment; it’s estimated that the more accurate timekeeping versus payroll expenses can cause a typical small business with a fleet of company vehicles to save enough money to pay for the installation and software in under 90 days.
Find information and service providers to your GPS fleet tracking needs at this independent GPS Tracking Resource site. Read and review articles and service providers.

Monday, February 4, 2008

10 Steps to get a TLC license.


Step 0: TLC Mandatory Sex Trafficking Awareness Video
Step 1 : Must be at least 19 years old
Step 2 : Must have a valid DMV license (class A, B, C & E accepted)
Step 3 : Must complete a TLC driver application - ( http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/downloads/pdf/new_driver_app_partb.pdf )
Step 4 : Proof of Address Requirement – If your DMV license has a different address than the one you put on your application, you must bring a document (i.e., Utility
bill) that shows your current mailing address with your name on it.
Step 5 : Must have a valid and original Social Security Card
Step 6 : Must have a completed and notarized NYC Office Child Support Enforcement Form
( http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/downloads/pdf/childsupport.pdf )
Step 7 : Defense Driving Course certificate - Must be no older than six (6) months from the date you submit your application.
Step 8 : Fingerprinting Fee of $75 – Money order made payable to: NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission - Visa or Master Card only.
Step 9 : License Fee of $84 – Money order made payable to: NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission or Visa or Master Card only.
Step 10 : Drug Test Fee of $26 – Money order only made payable to: LabCorp

For more Information visit our main website: www.InsideBlackCar.com

En español: 10 pasos para obtener una licencia de TLC 

Refer to the TLC checklist for an in-depth look at the requirements.

All TLC Forms found here.
Click on the link to see which vehicles are currently approved for use as a New York City Taxicab.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Inside Black Car

Inside Black Car is your ultimate resource for NYC's Black Car industry. If you need advice relating to the NYC Black Car Industry, browse around. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please post a message or comment so that I can respond to you.

The Voice of Empathy

Empathy What iѕ empathy?  It is a соmрlеx social bеhаviоr that invоlvеѕ thе ability to undеrѕtаnd аnd ѕhаrе thе feelings and em...