Regulations at Work

October/03/2011 17:51PM
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I spent the past few days in Park City, Utah. Beautiful place this time of year. Aspens turning yellow and the other colors starting to pop.

It was a bit of a challenge to get ground transportation from the airport in Salt Lake City to Park City. We were meeting another couple coming in from Burbank, California and we were trying to coordinate flights so we could take one car to Park City.

My first shot was Orbitz. I had arranged a ride through them before the need for a ride for four instead of two arose. When I called the company Orbitz used I talked to three people trying to get agreement and a price to change from two to four. Then I talked to two people at Orbitz to get my contract cancelled with their ground transportation company. Reason: incompetence. If you can’t solve a two to four question will you even show up or show on time?

I have a friend who skis in Park City. I asked him for a recommendation. I called and it was no problem to pick up four of us and get us to Park City. The price was fair.

Everything went fine even though the flight from Burbank(Southwest) was cancelled and there was a bigger delay. We got the ride there and the driver was professional.

We used them for the ride back today. This man is in business and has been driving people back and forth from Salt Lake City to Park City for 19 years. He has five cars and 8 drivers. Because peak season is winter and you are going up the mountains with several pairs of skis, you need a big car with four wheel drive. He has been buying Chevy Suburbans with 80,000-100,000 miles from private parties for years.

He tells me the TSA has taken over security at the Salt Lake City airport including the jurisdiction for taxis and limos. I could find no record of that. But, I did find the change in regulation he was saying might put him out of business. Here it is.

” Why put a five year age limit on ground transportation vehicle?
The vehicle age restriction is to provide the public (local and visitors) an assurance that they will
be provided transportation in a vehicle that is modern and represents the standards that Salt Lake City
wishes to present as a destination City. Included in the restrictions is a maximum mileage of 300,000
miles. This mileage restriction will help to assure that the vehicles’ basic safety and performance are to
standard for transportation vehicles. The City also will not allow vehicles that have a branded title (also
known as salvage vehicles) to be used as a ground transportation vehicle. In the past vehicles that have
been “totaled” or flood damaged, or even caught on fire have been repaired, given a “coat of paint” and
put to use. City personnel do not believe that this is a safe practice.
For those who say they cannot afford to buy all new vehicles, the City agrees. The proposed
ordinances call for phasing in the five-year restriction, requiring 75% of a fleet to be compliant within one
year and 100% compliant within two years. Also, the vehicles do not have to be “new,” they can be
anywhere within the five-year range. As an example, this will allow a company to purchase a two-year
old vehicle at substantial savings, with say… 30,000 – 50,000 miles on it and drive it for an additional
three years and 250,000, or 80,000 miles per year before having to replace it.”

Except the owner says he won’t be able to make a profit if they put this regulation in effect. He says he will sell the business. His average car he buys is already three years old. He keeps them until they have 300,000 miles which gives him five years of service. Now, he will get two. He has trouble finding a good vehicle that works for him and it will be impossible to find the numbers he will need to meet the 5 year requirement. This goes into effect next January.

As the quote says, it’s all about image to the City or the TSA or whomever did this. It’s not about safety, there are no data showing this will improve safety.

For the owner of this company it’s about survival. He says he will run until the fleet is maxed out at five years and try to sell the business in the interim.

Now, compound this screw-up by thousands and put the Obama mentality in there and you can really step up this kind of employment economy killing regulatory environment and you can see what’s happening to jobs in this country today.

Just as an aside, walking down Main Street in Park City one finds the US Post Office sitting on a piece of property that must be worth $3-5 million. If the Post Office were a business losing billions do you think someone might have figured out that they could sell this prime city block of real estate and move elsewhere? How many other prime pieces are post offices occupying?

Sears and K-Mart got purchased for the value of their real estate not their retailing. Would it ever occur to a bureaucrat that the Post Office might be in the same boat?

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