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Limousine operators say they are crippled by insurance costs

Open doors invite passengers to enter a limousine. (WRGB)
Open doors invite passengers to enter a limousine. (WRGB)
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Lawmakers are now working on federal Limousine safety guidelines following the deadly Schoharie limo crash back in October of 2018.

However, some drivers in our area say the crash, COVID and state guidelines are putting them out of business.

“When is the last time you saw a limo going down the road?” asked owner of Telstar Limousine, Bob Longo.

MORE: Schoharie Limo Crash: Two months later

Longo says business was almost non-existent since the Schoharie limo crash in 2018. Then prom season was cancelled because of COVID. Currently he is not in business.

“I just don’t know what’s going to happen. I hate to see this business really fail to exist anymore. But right now it’s in a bad way,” Longo said.

CBS 6 looked up other limo companies. Many didn’t answer calls. Several are listed as temporarily closed, including Executive Limousine LLC. CEO Steven Figueroa says it’s because of the cost of insurance.

MORE: NTSB opens docket on Schoharie Limo case

He says for one limousine he was looking at $14,000 a year for insurance. He says that’s double since the crash. He says it used to be $500 or $600 a month, now it’s $1,100.

“I’ve talked to other companies in the area some of them have taken limos off the road, because it’s not enough revenue coming in maintain the business,” said Figueroa.

Back in February of last year Governor Cuomo signed the Landmark Limousine Safety Reforms. In part it called for backseat seatbelts for all passengers. All must be retrofitted by 2023.

These drivers hope the industry will still be around then.

“The one incident that happened really affects a lot of companies that are in regulation and following DOT policies,” said Figueroa.

He continued, “ I’m still feeling hopeful. I put a lot into this business, a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this business and just don’t want to let it go.”

He says he a few calls have come in for July and August.

Currently, senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are pushing federal legislation to get unsafe limos off the road and close federal safety loopholes. CBS6 is waiting on a response from the senators on whether the legislation includes anything to help the small limo companies.

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New York state tracks limo safety inspection. You can track that here.

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