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Open Letter to the California Legislature

I am a member of the Greater California Livery Association (GCLA) and a voting resident in our Legislative District. I am a part of the luxury travel market in California. My industry is an integral part of all trips to airports, cruise ports, hotels, and points of interest in the state of California. We are a well-established industry with 84% of service owners in business over 5 years. We are the cleanest and safest sector of the “for hire” transportation. While we are a niche industry made up of very small business owners who tend to keep a low profile, our clients are otherwise. We move the entertainment industry of Los Angeles, we move the tech industry of Silicon Valley, we move government officials in Sacramento, we move hospital staff and employees from home to their business campuses, we move the entire meetings and convention industry, and we move vacationers to every point of interest from San Diego to Eureka.

According to the California Public Utilities Commission, there are 6,100 owner/operators of “for hire” transportation services in California including owners of contracted shuttles companies (hotels, hospitals, airlines etc.), car services, and charter buses. Excluding TNCs like Uber and Lyft, there are more than 50,000 vehicles that perform almost 20 million trips per year. Our industry represents $1.5 billion in revenue for the state. The median average number of employees in our industry is 15, bringing the estimated total to above 92,000 people.

Since the state mandated Shelter-In-Place, 65% of our industry in California is completely shut down with 100% of business halted. This alone equates more than $300 million in lost wages in a 4-month period. Owners of chauffeured services who have completely shut down have suffered over $ 158 million dollars in canceled trips. The state and federal assistance programs are very appreciated.

However, service industries that are tied to the travel need an extra step from you. We have asked our landlords and vehicle financial institutes for deferments on leases. We have been afforded 90-day grace periods by banks but what happens after that if we are unable to pay? Foreclosures and repossessions of vehicles and commercial property. Once this happens, the real estate, car and bus markets in our great state will fall into a deep recession and we will be out of business and thus a bigger burden on California.

We ask that you work with Governor Newsom to put an immediate MORATORIUM on all non voluntary foreclosures, defaults and repossessions for travel businesses, including for-hire transportation, statewide until this pandemic is declared to be OVER by the Governor. Loans and related interest and late fees MUST BE SUSPENDED until a date specific to the DECLARED END of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are asking for at least 12 months reprieve on loans for service vehicles. Banks should be able to weather this as long as the suspended payments are added to the back-end of the loan(s). These are unprecedented times. Please help us with this challenge as our ability to resume moving people point to point in safety is at your mercy.

Thank you for your leadership during this distressing time.

Respectfully,

Your Maitre ‘d Limousine

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