GRAND THEFT AUTO

Transportation Tech Editor
4 min readMar 9, 2024
Richard Ramis, AYS Dispatch, Inc.

I have been servicing a larger mid-size operation. Been with them easily close to 20 years. During the pandemic they went through a fair number of general managers. The first new one was a recently retired fortune 500 upper-level cubicle farmer. He could have also been a micromanaging higher-up. Can’t be sure. He wasn’t on social media so I couldn’t really get a
reading on him. One thing for sure. He made it clear that tweaking a standard routine ground transportation provider into corporate cultured, by the book, operating in a militarized lock step concept was his goal. I have been at this business so long that I have become a firm believer that
there are only two types of people out there. Those who pump limo blood and those that don’t.

Now I will be the first to admit. The primary founders of the limousine industry specifically, have passed on or retired. There was a time way back when it seemed the entire industry was made up of the same group simply playing musical chairs within the competition. We also have a portion of the old industry that now controls the bus industry 2.0, but I don’t want to confuse things.

Back to the subject. One night around 1100pm local time zone, driver X in car Z calls to inquire if anyone is using car Z in the morning. I check the manifest and confirm he is the last person to use it tonight and the first to use it tomorrow. He then explains that he lives 18 miles NW of base, and his first order is 2 miles from his home. Furthermore, he calls clear with this query from downtown which was already halfway between the base and his home. So it was a no brainer. Sure, take the car home I tell him. That following morning, I get a call from the new GM asking if it is true I authorized driver X to take “company assets” home. I respond with a
resounding yes. He says with a condescending tone what makes me think I have the authority to approve such a request. I explain the logistical dynamic of the entire request and how I am saving his company, wear and tear, excess miles and certainly fuel. Although I don’t know how they pay I know they have report times and start times, so I possibly saved them labor as well. Now to get technical, I also saved the driver wear and tear and fuel on his personal car. Somewhere out there are a bunch of trees hunting me down for a group hug.

This GM did not appear to appreciate my logistical gravitas. He made it clear that company assets are to be returned to the garage and cleaned before, in between and after all assigned jobs. I should have left it alone at that point. I knew this clown would not last long, but I opened my mouth anyways. I explain that I represent many companies and have over 3100 active drivers in inventory and drivers taking equipment home is very common. I even have bus companies that allow drivers in certain situations to take up to 56 passenger motor-coaches home. Typically, they
park those on major streets as most residential streets cannot accommodate them.

There are many companies that do not even have garages. We have a company locally that has the driver keep the car 24/7 and return it only on their day(s) off. I would be willing to bet that 60–70% of all for hire vehicles are home based and exposed to the elements in one way or the
other.

Now there are many people thinking that there are safety factors with drivers keeping vehicles at home. We do have some drivers who admittedly refuse to take the cars home unless they have a suitable garage due the crime in their neighborhood. We have several drivers who can only take
sedans or SUV’s home because their complexes or subdivisions do not allow commercial vehicles.

As far as drive bys, side hustles or ride share apps. Check your GPS, camera, or odometer. If a driver wants to stop at the grocery store on the way home, why not?? I really think the overall savings that can be accrued make this prospect a critical component that can add some real value
to one’s bottom line.

Great example. In 2017 UPS did a major study that determined greater efficiencies by encouraging their drivers to favor right turns over left turns. After implementing this program, they discovered they were saving millions of gallons of fuel annually and avoiding emissions equivalent to over 20,000 passenger cars.

Speaking of which, one should study this phenomenon. You never know. Especially you veteran operators out there. After all, if you remember in the old days with the 120” Lincolns.

It took 3 rights to make a left.

--

--