Limousine Hire Surcharges

At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, some taxi and limousine companies are straining to balance fuel prices with affordable services. With fuel hovering around US $3.50 a gallon, airport transportation is getting more expensive, taxi drivers are quitting their jobs, limousine companies are fielding complaints and both are bracing for a smaller customer base.

Cab drivers, who are almost always independent contractors who own their own cars and pay for their own fuel, have a little help from a Dallas fuel surcharge regulation, which the airport allows drivers to follow. Fort Worth passed an almost identical surcharge regulation in January 2006.

The regulation drivers follow lets them charge an extra fee to the final cost of each trip. The regulation started when gas was about $2 a gallon, allowing cab drivers to add 50 cents to the total cost of each trip. With each 50 cent rise in the cost of gas, drivers are allowed to charge another 50 cents to their fuel surcharge. When gas went from $2 to $2.51, the surcharge went from 50 cents to $1. With the price of fuel at about $3.50 a gallon, the charge is $1.50.

Limousine companies, however, aren't covered under the fuel surcharge regulation. Continental Limousine owner Bruno Teixeira said his company serves the tourism industry in Fort Worth, providing airport and hotel transfers for its clients. The company is also the exclusive transportation provider for seven of Fort Worth's largest hotels, including the Renaissance Worthington Hotel, Omni Fort Worth Hotel, Hilton Fort Worth and Radisson Plaza Hotel Fort Worth.

Teixeira worries that limousine customers will stop flying and start doing conference calls instead of travelling for meetings. He is not sure about his or the industries future. Although they haven't noticed a decrease in their customer base, they have received a lot of complaints, which is the preamble to a customer decrease. People are stressed out, they're frustrated, but they understand we have no choice but to increase costs, he said.

Experts are predicting the price of oil to keep rising due to increased demand, and concerns about supply. This means that the price of fuel will invariably keep rising as well. What will this mean to a world that is seemingly addicted to oil? Currently the world consumption is about 85 million barrels per day yet Saudi Arabia alone, has an extra 200 million barrels a day capacity which is not being used!