In addition to providing safe, clean and reliable transportation service, our mission is to educate the public on what requirements are needed for a limousine company to conduct business legally, which in return ensures safety. Also to teach consumers how to verify a company’s fleet.
Most people think that when you are looking to rent a limousine, all you need to do is look on a company’s internet site, printed display ad or see them at a bridal show, then compare prices. They just assume that a government agency is making sure the company is doing everything it is supposed to; unfortunately, this is not true. There are government agencies that are setup to regulate the transportation industry; however, the enforcement is poor. Through the years, we’ve meet with top agency officials, in multiple agencies, and the sentiment is the same; they are understaffed because they are underfunded. So it’s like anything in life, you have to take personal responsibility and do your own research. Also, it is one of the most important vendors to research because it could cost you, your family and friends, your lives.
If you want to rent a vehicle to transport you to and from points in Maryland (pick up and drop off in Maryland), that would be considered an INTRA-STATE transaction, which will require the company to be certified by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC.), who regulates the Maryland transportation industry.
If you go out of state at anytime during that trip, or drop off in another state, that would be considered an INTER-STATE transaction, which will require the company to be certified by the Department of Transportation (D.O.T.). In addition, they will have to have a Motor Carrier Number (MC#), which grants them operating authority.
PSC requires a company to do the following:
DOT requires the additional below:
*There are a lot of other “Driver Qualifications”, but are too lengthy to explain here.
To verify a company has Maryland INTRA-STATE authority, go to PSC’s website at http://webapp.psc.state.md.us/intranet/transport/GetCarrier_new.cfm. In the middle of the page, click on "Get Carrier" (leaving "Search By" on "All"). This will bring up all Maryland registered carriers. Go to your tool bar at the top of the page, click on "Edit", then "Find". Then put in any distinct information (company's phone number, address, carrier number, etc.). This will bring up the company you are trying to find. You will give you their basic information. Then click on "Get Vehicle List".
Here you can see their fleet, including the years of the vehicles. If nothing comes up in the initial search, then they are not registered; hence, not legal. If you want to check to see if they are on the Suspended List, go to PSC’s Home page. On the left, click on the plus sign next to "Transportation", then click on "For-Hire Suspended Carriers".
To verify a company has INTER-STATE authority, go to http://www.safersys.org/. Scroll down to “FMCSA Searches”. Right below that, click on “Company Snapshot” link. You can then put in the DOT#, MC# or company’s name. If you get a report, on the right where is shows “Other Information for this Carrier”, click on “Licensing and Insurance”, then click on “View Report”. Click on “HTML”, then you can see, under "Authority Status", if an application is pending or active and how much insurance they have on file. Remember, a DOT# just identifies the company. In order to have interstate operating authority, a company MUST have a Motor Carrier (MC) number.
One of the other important things consumers want and expect is honesty. Even if a company is legal, a lot of them lie about the vehicles they own, the vehicle’s year, and/or the vehicle's capacity. Just because you read an advertisement in the Yellow Pages, or on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s true. Anybody can tell you anything. In addition to verifying a company with the appropriate government agencies as stated above, we highly recommend going to see the vehicle. Once you've inquired about a vehicle, and a company invites you to see that vehicle (we wouldn't suggest using a company that doesn't invite you out, because if they really have nice vehicles, or own the vehicles they are claiming, they would invite you out; if not, they are hiding something and are just trying to get you to book on low price), write down the information, go to the business and ask to see the vehicle discussed. Confirm this is the vehicle discussed, then ASK FOR THE VEHICLE'S REGISTRATION, which is required by law to be in the vehicle at all times. Make sure you confirm the year that was discussed and compare the VIN on the registration to the vehicle (located at the bottom of the windshield on the driver's side). You should also see who it’s registered to. If it’s not the company you are dealing with, you have to make sure whoever it’s registered to is legal.
As far as the vehicle's capacity, click here "How To Pick A Stretched Limousine" to understand how the coachbuilder determines the vehicle's capacity.
Also, another good tool to use is to check the company's rating with the Better Business Bureau. Click here for more information (after clicking on link, scroll down to middle of page).
If a company lies to you about any of the above, what else are they lying about? Remember, you are entrusting you and your friends’ lives with someone you don't know. You should not have to worry about the transportation you've hired.
Be a smart consumer and make sure you get what you paid for.