Booking a limousine for prom or for a wedding is one of the many tasks when planning a special occasion but customers should be aware not all of them operate legally.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission regulates limousine services in 66 counties in Pennsylvania, with the exception of Philadelphia.
Limousine companies are required to obtain a PUC certificate when transporting passengers within the state. The PUC monitors certificated carriers for insurance coverage, driver and vehicle safety, rates, territory and service.
PUC Chairman, Gladys Brown, urges consumers to only use regulated services. "With that they're assured the safety factors have been checked. These people have been checked for background, drivers' safety and makes sure the rates are within the tariff we have," Brown said.
Regulations mean less hassle if there would be an accident, Brown said. "To make sure their insurance levels are at the standard they should be, you don't want to have an accident where the limo services are not insured," she said.
Officials with the PUC say this time of the year when unauthorized chauffeurs are looking to make some extra cash could be putting customers in harms way.
When looking for a limousine company, ask the company to provide their PUC number. Additionally, verify the validity of their license online. The PUC also says to obtain more than one quote and retain all paperwork received from the company.
Jim Salinger, president of Unique Limousine in Harrisburg asks his customers to make sure they book a ride with a certified company. "When a vehicle leaves here, they put things in place such as a tag that starts with letters LM, that means it's a limo," he said. "They're here to regulate your safety and mine."