The History of Limousine Hire
With something as stylish and opulent as a limousine
, it is no surprise that limos originated in France.
Many hundreds of years ago, shepherds in Limousine, France, developed a hooded over garment to protect themselves from the rain and cold which they called a 'limousine'. In the 1900s when carriages were first emerging, a similar motivation lead to a cover being developed to create covered traveling compartments. There was also a Parisian coach builder from Limousine
who may have been responsible for the word limousine applying to covered coaches, which were of course always chauffeur driven.
James P Carey was one of the first to take advantage of the demand for chauffeur driven luxury cars. In New York in 1921, Carey realized that visitors to this ever bustling city wanted to travel in more style than a taxi cab offered and so used the early Packards and Cadillacs to launch his multi-million dollar limousine empire still in operation today.
Another New Yorker, David Klein, was determined to make stretch limousines
available and operating in every city. After a taxi strike in 1970 where he 'chauffeured' stranded commuters across the city, Klein also seized the opportunity to offer an alternative to cabs. Moving up from selling Volkswagens and running a valet parking concession, Klein used this experience to form a partnership with a high school friend and launched his business.
As with any good idea, there are always business popping up to take advantage of a new niche. Limousines developed over the years to various sizes, colors, shapes and models. As with any luxury item, it can be as individual as you are, with seat covers to match your suit or include a piano keyboard like the car of composer Rudolf Friml, for when a composition came to him while traveling.
During the Great Depression, owners of Luxury Vehicles could no longer afford the personal services of a chauffeur. Enterprising chauffeurs bought there luxury vehicles from there previous masters, and hired out the vehicles with there services, thus allowing people still accustomed to been chauffeur driven to still enjoy the services of a chauffeur driven vehicle, maintain there status and save the costs of running expensive vehicles with the additional burden of a salaried chauffeur.
Limos have come a long way from the covered carriages of a century ago. What would the upper classes have thought had they known their demur and stylish carriages would develop into limousines with hot tubs, full bars, TVs, phones, fax, microwaves and even putting greens?
Chauffeur, What does it mean
A chauffeur is one who drives an automobile as a job. While the term may refer to anybody who drives for a living, it usually implies a driver of a luxury saloon, especially a limousine; those who drive non-luxury cars are simply called "drivers" (as in bus drivers). In some countries, particularly developing nations where a ready supply of labor ensures that even the middle classes can afford domestic staff and among the wealthy who avoid affectation, the chauffeur may simply be called the "driver."
People sometimes employ chauffeurs full time to drive them in their own cars, or there are occasional services offering limousines or rental cars driven by chauffeurs. This is very similar to but more luxurious than taking a taxi cab.
A variety of benefits are cited for using chauffeurs, including convenience, productivity and time savings, and driving safety for businesspeople and seniors.
The requirements to be a chauffeur vary depending on location and vehicle type. Most of the requirements are established on a state or municipality level. In addition to a regular drivers license, some areas require a chauffeur to obtain an additional license, and to meet certain minimum age and driving experience requirements, and only with a clean driving history.
Chauffeur is the French word for driver. It comes from the verb "chauffeur" (to heat) and also means "he who heats". Early steam-powered cars required the driver to keep the engine hot, and the French term for stoker was adapted from steam railroads and ships .
Most limousine companies in the United States and the EU require their chauffeurs to undergo extensive training courses. These courses involve evasive or defensive driving techniques. These courses also teach the proper methods to ensure safety in the most extreme conditions like a flat tire at high speeds, loss of control of the vehicle, etc. Most companies will also have their own courses of what they expect from their chauffeurs. The chauffeurs may be taught the proper etiquette when they are in the presence of the client. All companies require random drug screening to maintain only the utmost professionals to represent their companies.
In many places (or at times in the past), proper attire is worn by the chauffeur at all times. This usually includes a cleaned and pressed black or dark suit and jacket, a pressed, crisp dress shirt and appropriate tie, as well as polished black shoes and even gloves. Some companies have uniforms for their chauffeurs, and some require that hats are worn in addition to the uniform. Some companies do not keep strictly to this standard, and there is wide variation throughout the transportation industry.
Licensing in South Africa
- A good knowledge of the area or region of operation.
- Familiar with airport procedure.
- A valid drivers license.
- A valid public driving permit, PDP.
- A valid road license.
- A public passenger permit.
- A Certificate of Fitness, COF.
- The company that owns the vehicle must have public liability insurance.
- A responsible person to ensure the road worthiness of the vehicles in operation.
- Depending upon the type of operation and what is been hired, VAT is generally not charged.
- VAT is charged for Aviation Charter.