Transportation Reviews, the leading advocate for consumers seeking passenger ground transportation services within the U.S. has recently completed a comprehensive study of limousine companies who operate within the state of California.
California limousine companies are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). All California limousine companies are required to be permitted by the CPUC in order to provide limousine services within the state of California. Many California Limousine companies continue to operate without valid authority.
The California Public Utilities Commission routinely investigates limousine companies who are operating within the state of California in order to protect consumers. According to a recent press release by CPUC dated November 9, 2009, the CPUC issued administrative citations for numerous violations including, failure to display TCP and or PSC permit number on advertisements and vehicles, engaging unlicensed sub carriers, and operating and advertising without a valid permit.
Based on research conducted by Transportation Reviews, many California limousine companies advertise their limousine services without a required permit from the CPUC. A growing number of California limousine companies own and operate a company website to solicit consumers who are looking for limousine services. The California Public Utilities Commission does not require limousine companies to submit information to the state regarding their website address (domain name). As result, the CPUC is unable to monitor and or enforce the online advertising activities of all California limousine companies who have valid authority to operate within the state of California.
The following study is the first of its kind and is a comprehensive analysis of California limousine companies who advertise limousine services on the internet using company owned websites. As of December 24, 2009, Transportation Reviews inspected 602 active websites of California limousine service companies. The sample size represented 9.2% of the 6,533 California passenger carriers displayed on the CPUC website. All limousine companies contained within this sample study either held a permit at one point of time or previously applied for a permit with CPUC.
A total of 40 websites or 6.6% of the sample size were identified as illegal carriers according to passenger carrier information displayed on the California Public Utilities Commission website as of 12/24/2009. The Carrier Status of the 40 California limousine companies consisted of one of the following: Revoked, Expired, and or Denied.
According to the California Public Utilities Commission, all California passenger carriers including limousine companies are required to display their TCP and or PSC number on advertisements. A company website is considered a form of advertising by the CPUC. 47.5% of the websites of these illegal carriers displayed a CPUC issued permit number.
Many California limousine service companies whose permit was revoked, expired, and or denied, continue to advertise on the internet using their company owned website. Based on the dates displayed on the California Public Utilities Commission website, the average company website was active and operating 204 days beyond their revoked, expired or denied permit date. The range of days operating a website without a permit ranged from 0 to 527 Days.
The average GroundCar Score™ of the 40 illegal carriers was 27. Transportation Reviews is the creator of the GroundCar Score™ which is the first and only rating system for the passenger ground transportation industry. The GroundCar Score™ ranges from “0″ to “100″. Higher scores generally indicate a greater level of transparency. GroundCar Scores™ ranged from 0 to 70 for the 40 illegal carriers.
According to Todd Nemet, Founder and President of Transportation Reviews, not all California limousine companies own and operate their own company website. In fact, many California limousine companies advertise their limousine services on third party websites including:
- Ground transportation directory websites
- Review websites
- Online classifieds
- Reservation websites
If you factor in the third party websites that California limousine companies use to advertise their limousine services, the actual number of illegal carriers advertising limousine services within the state of California would be significantly greater from the results of this case study.
In addition, this study did not include the many websites of California limousine service companies who were never permitted by the CPUC. It is projected that the actual number of unlicensed California limousine service companies advertising on the internet is approximately 15 to 20% of the total number of permitted passenger carriers.