As the traditional ground transportation industry continues to be “disrupted” by app-based transportation providers, Matthew W. Daus, partner and chair of the Transportation Practice Group at Windels Marx, is predicting “rightsizing” and consolidation in the chauffeured car industry. A good example of this trend is a partnership between transportation provider EmpireCLS and tech firm Hip, who together now offer corporate shuttles for commuting. The service meets the demand of clients wary of public transportation due to the pandemic, according to Daus.

The partners integrated their software and now provide an integrated platform for luxury, near-demand transportation with a mix of luxury SUVs, vans, mini-coaches, and full-size coaches. Hip’s dashboard lets travel management, HR, and corporate security teams monitor activity in real-time and allows for contact tracing. Hip’s platform also allows for cost-sharing between corporate clients and their employees, who can use “commuter benefit cards.”

EmpireCLS’s vehicles are equipped with Wi-Fi and undergo full cleaning, including UVC disinfection. All EmpireCLS’s corporate shuttle program drivers are rapid-tested for COVID. The company is also working to make the testing available to client employees, upon request.

“It is inevitable there will be bankruptcies and M&A at some point,” noted Daus. “The [Payroll Protection Program] caused a delay in bankruptcies and kept [many operators] alive. The strong will survive; if they have strong relationships and private equity backing them, maybe they start acquiring smaller companies.”

Source: Windels Marx

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