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California Public Utilities Commission

State Regulators Issue Fines for Ride-Sharing Services in San Francisco

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on December 15, 2012

We have written extensively about legal and regulatory problems for Uber, a smartphone application that helps people arrange San Francisco limousine and taxicab rides, but they and other services that arrange ride-sharing are facing new troubles with state regulators. One ride-sharing service called Sidecar, along with new a new arrival called Lyft, have received $20,000 fines from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the agency that regulates all for-hire ground transportation services in our state.

Not surprisingly, the founders of the ride-share services are crying foul about the fines, saying that they are facilitating a valuable service for their clients and the Bay Area.

"This is about community members who have extra seats in their car, sharing those with people who need a ride," Lyft co-founder John Zimmer said. "It helps drivers cut the cost of owning an automobile."

Lyft and Sidecar help car owners earn a bit of money by arranging rides for people who need them. However, state regulators see this for-hire arrangement in a different way entirely.

"We regard these operators as essentially the same as limousine companies, drivers for hire," California Public Utilities Commission Counsel General Frank Lindh said. "We do believe they’re operating outside the law right now; they don’t have proper insurance, their drivers are not properly screened and so we do have concerns about public safety of these operations."

Admittedly, we have a biased opinion on this topic, but we agree with Mr. Lindh on this. Under state regulations, our Bay Area limousine service is a for-hire passenger carrier, and we must adhere to strict regulations about insurance coverage, proper licensing of our luxury vehicles and chauffeurs, safety equipment, regular maintenance for our vehicles and other rules. These are all in place to protect our guests, and, if you have rented a San Francisco limo, party bus or other luxury vehicle from us in the past, you know that we place the safety of our guests above all other considerations. If one of these ride-sharing vehicles is involved in an accident, the person receiving the ride could be put in a very difficult position.

We understand that someone needing a ride to the grocery store or doctor’s office doesn’t need one of our San Francisco limo rentals. However, as a locally owned and operated company and longtime residents of the Bay Area, we are very concerned about how ride-sharing services could have unintended consequences for riders. If you need a ride, call a friend, a cab or call us at NLS Limo at 800-339-8936 to rent one of our vehicles for as long as you need it. When you do business with a CPUC-compliant business like ours, you’re purchasing a lot more than just a limo ride.

Better Business Bureau Warns That Party Bus Scams Are on the Rise

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on September 12, 2012

According to a recent article from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), criminals are taking advantage of the surging popularity of party buses and defrauding customers across the country. In their article, the BBB cited a recent incident in Colorado where University of Colorado students thought they had reserved a party bus for transportation to and from a football game with archrival Colorado State. Their party bus never arrived to take them to the big game, and when they contacted the party bus rental service, the person who answered the phone told them that the bus had broken down. The person told them that they would not receive a refund for the party bus rental but if they caught a cab to the game and got a receipt, they would be reimbursed for the cab ride.

When the students told the man that they doubted the reimbursement offer and demanded a full refund for the party bus, the man refused, saying that he would not give them their money back because they had threatened him. Fortunately, the students had used a credit card to pay for the party bus and were able to cancel the charge after explaining the situation to the provider. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. The BBB warns potential party bus renters that there were problems with other party bus services in Colorado and in other areas across the country. The broken down party bus is a common excuse used by the scammers, and BBB investigators say that many of these criminals use several different business names to prolong their activities.

If you want to rent a San Francisco party bus for an upcoming special event, here are a few tips to avoid falling victim to unethical party bus operators:

  • Check out the Bay Area party bus company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Go to the California Public Utilities Commission’s website at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc/ to see if the operator is licensed in our state.
  • Perform a web search to see what others are saying about the operator.
  • Make sure the website of the company features the CPUC’s TCP number on each page, and check that against the listing on the CPUC site.
  • If something looks or sounds suspicious, contact the CPUC directly. The number for their San Francisco office is 415-703-2782.

Renting a San Francisco party van should be a fun, memorable and very comfortable experience. However, as you can see, not all party bus services have the same dedication to their guests as we do. If you rent one of our party buses, we will go above and beyond to ensure that you and your friends and family have a great time and make your special occasion truly memorable. Call us at NLS Limo today at 800-339-8936 to reserve an affordable San Francisco party bus for your event, and get ready to have a great time!

CPUC Issues Cease & Desist Orders Against 35 Illegal Limousine Services

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on August 6, 2012

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the state agency that issues licensing and enforces compliance with all passenger carrier regulations, recently issued cease & desist notices to 35 companies operating illegally in our state. All of the companies that received the orders had continued to illegally transport passengers despite having licenses that were suspended, revoked, denied or expired or not having any licensing at all. Many of the companies named were operating illegally as Bay Area limousine, bus and shuttle services. Illegal San Francisco limo companies continue to be a very serious problem in our area, and we feel it is our responsibility to our guests and all Californians to make them aware of the risks of doing business with illegal and unethical passenger carriers.

The individuals and companies that received cease & desist orders included these:

  1. David C. Hodgins dba Five-O Secure Transportation, Loomis (Unlicensed)
  2. Santa Barbara Limo Bus LLC dba Santa Barbara Limo Bus, Goleta (TCP 21820)
  3. Tom Bridger dba TCS Chauffer Service, Palm Desert (Unlicensed)
  4. San Diego Executive Sedan LLC, San Diego (Unlicensed)
  5. Arturo Ledesma, dba Central Cali Party Bus, Watsonville (Unlicensed)
  6. Linda R Pasqua dba Delivered By Grace, Sunnyvale (Unlicensed)
  7. Jorge Amaro dba A1 Limo Services, Mountain View (Unlicensed)
  8. Jasbir Singh Clair dba Antioch Express Cab, Antioch (Unlicensed)
  9. Avolar Limousine Service Inc. dba Avolar Limousine Service, West Hills (TCP 23280)
  10. Veronica Trillo dba H.I.S Transportation Services (PSG 27331)
  11. Polly Lau dba Polly Martini, Benicia. (Unlicensed)
  12. Juan E Gonzalez, Sr. dba Bad Boy Limo, Chula Vista (TCP 16842)
  13. Paola Enterprises LLC dba Katz Party Bus, Norwalk (TCP 28817)
  14. Jorge Amaro dba A-1 Limo Services, Mountain View (Unlicensed)
  15. Ruben & Scarlett Citores dba Bay Hopper Party Bus, Menlo Park (Unlicensed)
  16. Shapiro, Dinerman & Kaplun, Inc. dba Bay Shuttle, San Francisco (Unlicensed)
  17. Ulises Ramirez dba Imperial Valley Tours, Holtsville (TCP 16851)
  18. Payma Management Systems, LLC, Poway (TCP 15330)
  19. Go Californie, LLC, Concord (Unlicensed)
  20. City Sightseeing Corporation, San Francisco (TCP 21558)
  21. Limo Lounge LLC, Gilroy (TCP 24002)
  22. Prestige Limousine, Bakersfield (Unlicensed)
  23. Ruedas & Camancho dba California Shuttle, Hollister (Unlicensed)
  24. Michael Riches dba Town Cars San Diego (TCP 19059)
  25. Arthur Kesablian dba One Dream Limousine Service, Sun Valley (TCP 9787)
  26. Woody Guderian Dba Woody’s Wine Tours, Santa Rosa (Unlicensed)
  27. Ray Ramirez dba Hollywood Ray, San Diego (Unlicensed)
  28. The Santa Cruz Experience, Santa Cruz (TCP 27104)
  29. Josephine Rivas dba Payma Management Systems LLC, Poway (TCP 15330)
  30. Nick Falcone dba Sunbelt Limos, Laguna Beach (Unlicensed)
  31. Young Mock Sagong and Eun Jun Choi General Partnership dba Irvine Limo & Tour
  32. Travel Limousine and Sedan Service, West San Bruno (TCP10157)
  33. Apollo Luxury Transportation Corp., Martinez (TCP 20518)
  34. Berreth Limousine, Delano (Unlicensed)
  35. Edison Krosi, Aliso Viejo (TCP 24282)

If you are thinking about renting a San Francisco limo, party bus, SUV limo or other type of luxury transportation for an upcoming event and would like to make sure that the company has all the required licensing and insurance coverage, please check out the CPUC site. You can also call us at NLS Limo at 800-339-8936! We are one of the many Bay Area limousine services that protect their guests by purchasing required levels of insurance coverage, ensuring that their chauffeurs are fully licensed and following all CPUC regulations. What sets us apart is our unsurpassed level of customer service in addition to our very affordable rates! So, if you and your friends and family want to have a safe, fun, affordable and very luxurious limo, party bus or bus charter experience, call us first, and find out why we are the premier San Francisco limo rental company!

CPUC Announces Enforcement Actions to Protect Californians

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on August 6, 2012

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the state agency responsible for protecting Californians against illegal passenger carriers, recently announced enforcement actions against a variety of limousine, bus and shuttle companies. These actions addressed violations of the Public Utilities Code and CPUC rules and regulations during the second quarter of 2012. A total of ten companies received citations and were fined a total of $28,500 for one or more of the following violations:

  • Illegal display of charter-party carrier identification
  • Failing to respond to consumer complaints
  • Operated without a valid authority (suspended or unlicensed) program
  • Advertised a revoked permit number
  • Operated vehicles that are not insured at the required minimum level of public liability and property damage insurance
  • Failed to enroll drivers in DMV Pull Notice program
  • General Order 157-D violation (failed to maintain a current equipment list, no sub-carrier agreement or incomplete waybills)
  • Engaged employees without procuring evidence of workers’ compensation insurance
  • Failed to enroll and/or pre-employment test drivers in a mandatory drug and alcohol
  • Failed to properly report gross revenue earned

A variety of Bay Area limousine companies and other operators throughout California received the fines and citations, and three other companies received criminal filings for serious infractions that included the following:

  • Filing a false claim of proper insurance coverage when the company had no insurance coverage at all
  • Operating a limousine service after having their permit suspended for other violations
  • Operating without a valid authority and various workers’ compensation violations

We pass this information along to our readers on a regular basis in an effort to let them know about the scope of illegal and unethical limo, bus and shuttle services in our state and ways to protect themselves from becoming victims of shady operators. Anyone who wishes to know the names of the companies cited by the CPUC at any given time can visit the CPUC website for more information. Anyone wishing to check out a limousine service, bus charter, airport shuttle or other type of group transportation company before making a reservation can also check out the CPUC site to ensure that they have the proper licensing and insurance coverage.

If you are thinking about renting a San Francisco limo, party bus, luxury coach, cable car or other luxury vehicle for an upcoming event, give us a call at 800-339-8636. We work hard and spare no expense to ensure that we remain in full compliance with all CPUC regulations and put the comfort and safety of our guests above all other considerations. If we sound like the type of Bay Area limo service that you would prefer to do business with, please call us at NLS Limo today for more information and to make a reservation.

CPUC Takes Legal Action Against Illegal Limo Companies

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on October 28, 2011

Recently, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the state agency that issues licenses for passenger carriers such as limousine companies, charter bus services and other carriers, took legal action against scores of illegal limo operators throughout the state. The CPUC diligently ensures that all carriers are properly licensed, carry the required amount of insurance coverage, maintain their vehicles to state standards and ensure compliance on many other aspects of the industry to protect passengers. Many of the outfits receiving fines and cease and desist orders were illegal San Francisco limousine companies. These fly-by-night outfits put profits above all other considerations, including their guests’ lives, and make it harder for legitimate Bay Area limo companies like us by painting us all in a bad light.

During the third quarter of 2001, the CPUC took legal action against at least 25 companies and fined them a total of $27,500 for a wide range of different violations, including the following:

  • Advertising a revoked permit number
  • Engaging employees without procuring evidence of workers’ compensation insurance
  • Failing to enroll and/or pre-employment test drivers in a mandatory drug and alcohol program
  • Failing to enroll drivers in DMV Pull Notice program
  • General Order 157-D violation (failing to maintain a current equipment list, no sub-carrier agreement and incomplete waybills)
  • Operating without a valid authority (suspended or unlicensed)
  • Operating vehicles that are not insured at the required minimum level of public liability and property damage insurance

The CPUC also filed criminal complaints against many other passenger carriers throughout the state for illegal activities such as robbery, threatening to strand passengers unless they produced more money and other illegal acts.

We would like to reiterate that we post stories about illegal San Francisco limousine companies in order to educate our readers and prevent them from becoming targets of these criminals. In most cases, the guests who do business with these operators don’t know that they are doing business with an illegal and unethical operator. Here’s one sure way to ensure that you don’t end up riding in an illegal Bay Area limousine: limo carriers in California can only pick up guests if they have made a telephone reservation. If you are standing on a street corner or at the airport and a “chauffeur” offers a limo ride, don’t get in! That limo is illegal.

For a professional, luxurious and completely legitimate San Francisco limousine experience with a locally owned company that operates in full compliance with CPUC regulations, call us at NLS Limo today at 1-800-339-8936. We have set the standard for superb customer service, affordability and selection for many years now, and we understand that our reputation is on the line with each guest. If we sound like your kind of Bay Area limo provider, please call us to reserve your limo, party bus, antique car or other type of luxury transportation today!

CPUC Issues Report on Limousine Companies

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on May 18, 2011

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the state agency that oversees limousine services and other for-hire transportation companies, recently released its summary of enforcement actions against ground transportation companies for the first quarter of 2011. The CPUC enforces regulations, issues licenses and oversees around 5,000 limousine services in our state, including NLS Limo, the premier San Francisco limousine service.

Read more…

Illegal Limousines Crushed and Shredded By English Watchdog Agency

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on April 3, 2011

In an unusual move certainly intended to be a warning to illegal limousine operators, the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA), which is the agency that regulates the limousine industry in the United Kingdom, recently seized, crushed and shredded two luxury limousines. The Ford Excursion SUV limousines were seized from an illegal limousine operator in South Wales because they did not meet VOSA safety regulations and were transporting passengers illegally. The agency that registers, licenses and oversees San Francisco limousines and other limo services in California is the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). While they have not yet taken drastic steps like VOSA to address illegal limo operators, this might give them some ideas.

Read more…

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