Parked and feeling the pinch: Limo services in a bind without weddings and business travelers

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It would normally be one of the busiest times of year for transportation companies, especially limo services.

This is the time of year for many weddings, proms, graduations and even wine tours. But right now, fleets are parked waiting for a green light to get business back up and running. Due to the coronavirus, they have been that way for at least two weeks.

“All travel industry sectors right now have just fallen off a cliff,” said James Allen, one of the owners of James Limousine in Richmond.

According to the company, April, May and June are normally some of the best for business. A typical day for James Limousine, according to the company, would bring 60-75 trips with customers.

They say they’re lucky if they have 5 trips per day now.

“We’re losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue due to this, like most in the travel industry,” said Allen.

Allen told 8News he’s temporarily pulled insurance coverage for most of the vehicles.

“Trying to cut costs in any way that we can,” he explained.

In an effort to be lighthearted, those cars and buses out of service are marked with a yellow ‘quarantine’ sign in the front window. Their license plates have also been removed so drivers know those units are out of service.

Yet even with the bottom line hurting, Allen says he’s trying to do the right thing for his customers.

“We’ve had a very liberal cancellation policy and full refunds for anyone who has had to cancel a trip with us,” he said.

This business says it is hopeful the federal stimulus plan passed Friday will help bring employees back to the payroll, at least in the short-term.

“We think that’ll be a huge help in getting us through this and allowing us to bring our employees back to work,” Allen said.

Somehow in the midst of a public health crisis, this local business owner remains optimistic.

“We’re a very resilient industry,” Allen said. “We survived 9/11 and we came back strong and we’ll do the same during this period as well.”

Though business has slowed down in a big way, James Limousine says its seen a rise in requests for longer trips with a limo service as some people are trying to avoid public transportation altogether.

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