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blog home San Francisco Luxury Limo Rentals | San Francisco Travel Blog

San Francisco Luxury Limo Rentals | San Francisco Travel Blog

Makers of Taxi and Limousine Application Uber Sued in San Francisco

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on November 21, 2012

It looks like Uber’s legal troubles are continuing, this time in San Francisco. The maker of the smartphone application intended to help passengers find taxicabs and limousines in large U.S. cities is the target of a new lawsuit filed on behalf of San Francisco taxi drivers. You may recall that we have posted blogs in recent months about similar lawsuits filed against the request-a-ride service in New York City and Chicago. The suits claim that the application creates an unfair competitive environment by steering customers toward companies that don’t adhere to state and local regulations that govern taxi and limousine services.

Attorney Gary Oswald recently filed the suit in a San Francisco court and issued a press release in which he had less than flattering things to say about the smartphone app.

“Uber is brazenly violating this statutory scheme without even bothering to offer a pretext for their overtly illegal actions just as they have in New York City, Chicago and elsewhere,” Mr. Oswald said in the release. “By ignoring the law, Uber is putting at risk the livelihoods of hardworking men and women who drive safely and follow the rules.”

Mr. Oswald claims that Uber attempts to cover up its true nature in order to avoid all regulations governing limousine and taxicab companies and that these illegal acts also interfere with chauffeurs’ and taxi drivers’ relationships with their clients. He also claims that Uber uses illegal metering devices and charges unauthorized rates for its services. He closes the press release with a strong statement that suggests that Uber forces chauffeurs and taxi drivers to break the law, saying that “by written contraction between Uber and its ‘partnered’ Black Car drivers, such drivers are required to operate in violation of the San Francisco code.”

As we’ve stated before, we don’t mind competition, it inspires us to continue striving to offer the best San Francisco limousine experience for our guests for the best rates. However, we don’t care for any measures, digital or otherwise, that compel Bay Area limo services, chauffeurs, taxi drivers or anyone else to operate outside rules and regulations put in place to protect the safety of all Californians. Bay Area residents who want to reserve one of our limousines or other luxury vehicles can use their smartphones, but they don’t need to download an application to make it easier. They can simply give us a call at NLS Limo at 800-339-8936 to speak with one of our reservation specialists!

Russian Automaker Unveils New Limousine

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on October 2, 2012

Legendary Russian automaker ZIL has announced that they are introducing a new limousine that for the moment is called the 4112-R. ZIL is an acronym for Zavod Imeni Likhachova or, literally, factory named after Likhachov. ZIL was the Soviet Union’s primary supplier of heavily armored vehicles for their Defense Department and also manufactured high-end limousines for the Soviet elite. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, ZIL has also branched off into making ultra-luxury sedans. Few of these vehicles are sold outside Russia, and, when they are available, they fetch prices more commonly associated with Rolls-Royces and Maybachs.

According to early reports, the 4112-R closely resembles other ZIL limousines from the 70s and 80s, with a boxy look reminiscent of Mercury Marquis models from the late 70s. ZILs tend to favor sharp edges and long wheelbases, but the new 4112-R features some updated body moldings that soften the ZIL look somewhat. The new limo seats six comfortably and includes four climate control systems, a television, minibar, polished wood trim accents and plush leather upholstery.

Under the hood, the 4112-R sports a powerful 400-horsepower 7.7-liter V8 engine capable of reaching 125 mph. The 4112-R needs a big power plant, as it weighs in at a very hefty 7,700 pounds. All that horsepower is smoothly transferred to the rear wheels by an Allison transmission that we suspect has been over engineered to withstand the rigors of moving such a heavy vehicle. ZIL reports that production of the 4112-R will begin sometime this winter and will be available in many different trim packages and interior configurations.

The 4112-R might not be the prettiest limo, but we would like to add one to our fleet of San Francisco limousines anyway. We are always on the lookout for new and unusual limos to add to our collection, and our technicians love to get under the hood to see how the motors are made and configured. It may be a while before we get a chance to get one, but if you’re looking for a Bay Area limo rental for an upcoming event, we still have many different options. Classic stretch limos, limousines with hot tubs, limo buses and SUV limos are but a few of the many options available for our guests. For more information about your limo options, availability, rental rates and more, just give us a call at NLS Limo today at 800-339-8936!

Smartphone Apps Could Send You to an Illegal Bay Area Limo Service

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on September 11, 2012

A recent article in the Sacramento Bee sheds light on a growing problem here in the Bay Area and across the country. Smartphone applications like Uber and ZoneRide that allow users to quickly find limousine service and make reservations may direct users to unethical and illegal limousine services without the user knowing that they lack proper licensing and insurance coverage. The tech companies that market these apps make little distinction between legitimate limo services and independent drivers who illegally transport passengers without required safety inspections, insurance coverage, background checks, licensing requirements and other important consumer protections.

One limousine service owner interviewed for the article made a very accurate assessment of what we and other legitimate limo companies think of these apps and the illegal operators that use them to lure unsuspecting clients.

"No one likes regulations, but we have to work under a broad set of safety requirements that have evolved over decades of operation and are intended to protect the passengers and drivers. Technology companies have recently found ways to bypass those rules, and the result is a growing number of unlicensed cars that are operating with no accountability," he said.

State transportation officials are increasingly concerned about the safety of passengers, as well as chauffeurs who may or may not know that they are driving for an illegal limo company. Officials are quick to point out that the vehicles owned by these illegal operators lack important requirements such as partitions between the passenger cabin and driver, no GPS equipment to quickly locate the limo in case of emergency, no state-issued company identification information to help customers lodge a complaint or other important customer safeguards.

Mathew W. Daus, the former commissioner of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, urged state officials that "regulators should be proactive in understanding smartphone application operations and take steps to ensure the regulatory scheme in each jurisdiction accounts for third-party transportation applications."

We could not agree more. We write often about illegal limousine services here in the Bay Area and around the country to help raise awareness about the scope of the problem and protect people from falling victim to unscrupulous drivers and operators. If you are looking for a San Francisco limousine service that follows and exceeds all California requirements for licensing, insurance coverage, vehicle maintenance and safety standards, call us at NLS Limo today at 800-339-8936.

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!

Federal Government Claims It Owns Fewer Limousines

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on July 9, 2012

The General Services Administration (GSA) has refuted claims by some government watchdog groups that the federal government owns more limousines now than at any other time in the nation’s history. According to the GSA, the number of limos in the federal fleet is in sharp decline and reflects the belt-tightening occurring in nearly all branches of government. However, critics say that the decline is due to bureaucrats who have redefined what types of vehicles can be classified as limousines.

The Center for Public Integrity, a non-partisan government watchdog group, published a report last year that said the number of limousines owned by the federal government had skyrocketed during the Obama administration. They said that when President Obama took office in 2008, the government owned 238 limos and that by 2010 that number had ballooned to 412. The GSA’s most recent findings indicate that the government owned only 158 limousines in 2011. Responding to the GSA’s findings, the Center for Public Integrity said that the sharp decline was mostly due to reclassifying the term “limousine” by excluding shuttle buses and other vehicles capable of transporting larger groups of people.

The Center claims that new GSA guidelines classify a limousine as “a vehicle with a lengthened wheelbase, generally driven by a dedicated driver with possible customization, including ‘privacy panels’ and stretching for capacity and comfort."

The Center also reports that the GSA instructed federal agencies that "vehicles, including shuttle buses, without the aforementioned characteristics should not be reported as limousines."

At NLS Limo, we classify our San Francisco limousines, shuttle buses, SUV limos and other luxury ground transportation options as “vehicles with a longer wheelbase driven by a dedicated professional chauffeur designed, engineered and maintained to provide our guests with a fun, luxurious and entirely wonderful time at very affordable prices.”

Admittedly, we have not submitted our definition to the GSA for their review. If you choose one of our Bay Area limos, party buses, luxury sedans or other luxury vehicles for an upcoming special occasion, we’re confident that you’ll agree with our definition. In fact, instead of reducing our fleet of limos, we are constantly adding new models in order to better serve our guests for all their luxury ground transportation needs! If you would like to reserve a San Francisco limo for an upcoming event, just give us a call today at 800-339-8936! We welcome any inquiries by the Center for Public Integrity.

Mercedes Looks to Regain Lead With New Luxury SUVs

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on June 28, 2012

Since they lost their spot as the top seller of luxury vehicles in the world more than ten years ago, legendary automaker Mercedes-Benz has been on a quest to regain that lofty position. Mercedes has been devising a strategy and now believes that their new lineup of luxury sports utility vehicles will help them achieve their goal. In 2011, they launched a new M-Class SUV, a new C-Class coupe and a refreshed C-Class sedan, and sales for the first few months of 2012 suggest that they may be poised to overtake archrival BMW for the top spot.

Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with researcher IHS Automotive, had complimentary words for the venerable German automaker.

“Mercedes has upped its game,” she said. “The refreshes and redesigns they’ve done on their sedans are going to be very nicely complemented by the work they’ve done on their trucks.”

In August, Mercedes will unveil their newest luxury SUV, an updated GLK compact SUV. In September, their new GL-Class large SUV will grace showrooms all over the world. Mercedes sold 531,382 during the first five months of 2012, putting it third overall in luxury vehicle sales globally. BMW sold 607,207 vehicles and was followed closely by Audi, which sold 600,200 luxury models.

Steve Cannon, chief executive officer of Mercedes-Benz USA, said that he has been pleased with sales thus far for 2012 but was reluctant to forecast that his company would finish first overall this year.

“We are outpacing all of our competitors, we’ve got great new products to launch,” he said. “If at the end of the year the luxury sales crown happens naturally, that’s great.”

Automotive insiders have singled out Mercedes’ new GLK for special mention. They say the nearly 1,000 new parts for the model have given it a much-needed and classy makeover.

Lindland was especially smitten by the new circular chrome air vents in the redesigned interior of the GLK.

“You don’t really appreciate all of the differences until you’ve looked inside,” she said. “Who knew that you could fall in love with vents?”

We knew. We’re crazy about cars, especially luxury vehicles, and we love details like chrome air vents that complement a well designed and executed interior. A big part of the luxury vehicle experience is the feeling that you get when you step inside and go for a ride. We do not yet offer any of the new Mercedes SUVs in our fleet of San Francisco limousines (we’re working on it!), but we do offer our very lovely S500 luxury sedans for discriminating guests for business travel, airport transportation, VIP transportation and other applications. For more information about our Mercedes sedans or any of our other Bay Area luxury transportation options, call us at NLS Limo today at 800-339-8936.

California Limo Driver Leads Police on Chase

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on December 14, 2011

California Highway Patrol officers shut down Highway 12 in Santa Rosa for a short time recently after a chauffeur driving a limousine led them and members of other law enforcement agencies on a chase that lasted at least ten miles. Officers say the pursuit began around 11:30 a.m. when the chauffeur failed to obey an order to pull his limo over. Shortly after officers ordered the 31-year-old driver to pull over, the man rolled down his window, stuck his arm out, made a fist and extended his index finger toward the sky as he sped away.

A spokesman with the Sonoma County sheriff’s office said the driver took a detour through several side streets in Kenwood in an attempt to elude officers and eventually headed back onto Highway 12, where he fled from his pursuers. Strangely, even though he refused to pull over, officers said that the driver appeared to follow all traffic laws and did not exceed the posted 65 mph speed limit on Highway 12. Eventually, officers cleared Highway 12 ahead of the chauffeur’s path and deployed spike strips to puncture the limo’s tires. A helicopter joined the pursuit, and officers watched as the driver continued to leave his left arm hanging out the window.

“He was driving with one arm out the window and his index finger extended the whole time,” one said.

The limo ran over the spike strip shortly before noon, and officers apprehended the shirtless driver. The investigation is ongoing, but officers said the chauffeur did not appear to be intoxicated. They discovered that the man lives in the limo and does not use it to transport passengers. Police did not know why the man did not pull over as ordered and had his index finger pointed skyward throughout the pursuit.

We hear a lot of strange limo stories, but they generally involve guests’ behavior in the back of a limousine rather than a chauffeur’s antics in the front of the vehicle. If you’re looking for a San Francisco limousine experience for a special event that doesn’t involve fleeing and eluding police, chauffeurs driving with one hand and other unorthodox goings-on, you’re in luck! Our chauffeurs obey all traffic laws, don’t live in our limousines and rarely get pulled over. If this is the kind of San Francisco limo experience you prefer, please give us a call at NLS Limo today at 1-800-339-8936 to make a reservation.

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