19 Nov What Is Limo Service?
Long, sleek black or white limousines. A dapper gentleman with a suit, hat, and gloves. A woman being escorted out of the vehicle. She’s wearing a red dress that trails like fire behind her. There are paparazzi, cameras snapping a series of shots and capturing each and every angle. That’s the image most of us have when we hear the phrase “limo service.” And truthfully, the regard a limousine ride elicits is not far off from its benefits even today.
Whether limousine business owners like to admit it or not, the limo is a symbol for class and money with a touch of greed. On one hand, society expects celebrities to roll up to the red carpet in a limo for the Oscars. But it also denounces presidents and political figures for using limo service en route to speaking events. For example, political commentators use the term “limousine liberal” to describe Hillary Clinton – a politician they believe debates for the poor community while living what most would consider the high life.
Despite it’s divisive nature, limo service has been a resource for middle to upper class travelers and a commonplace venture of entrepreneurs for hundreds of years. Donald Trump even tried his hand at the limo business in the 1980s. But the vehicle or company isn’t what truly defines limo service as a noun.
All About the Driver
Dissidents and advocates alike tend to put the vehicle at the forefront of the limo service discussion. You might be surprised to learn that “limousine” actually comes from a small French town called Limoges. Located in the Limousin region of the country, Limoges residents were known for wearing hooded cloaks you might see in old paintings of shepherds in Bethlehem-like fields. When limousines were founded in the early 1700s, the world – primarily the wealthy population – rode in covered carriages powered by horses. Though the vehicle grounds the industry, the chauffeur is what makes it pivot. This is evident by the fact that the root of the word “limousine” actually references the person driving.
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The Outside Looking In
Since their initial production, limousines have physically and socially divided people. The first limousines were built with a hooded carriage for passengers. Drivers were left unprotected from the elements – forced to operate in a separate, uncovered compartment. Version 1 of the limousine was not the large and long vehicle we think of now, typically seating only 3 to 5 people. Motorized limousines entered the roadways in 1902 with minor structural changes. Still low capacity and no relief for the driver who remained outside of the covered part of the vehicle.
Then, Arkansas-based company, Armbruster, shattered the two-compartment system with their stretch limo and the situation for limo drivers consequently evolved. Suddenly, limousines could accommodate larger groups. In fact, the stretch limo was originally used to transport bands and their equipment. Plus, the design allowed for a covered driver’s side, putting the chauffeur in the same space – albeit still separated – as his or her riders.
Some of the earliest limousines include the 1915 Winton Six Limousine, 1928 stretch limousines, and 1953 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV Touring Limousine. One of the more interesting trends in the luxury transportation space was the conversion of vehicles into novelty stretch limos.
- East German Trabant
- Volkswagen Beetle
- Flat Panda
- Citroen 2CV
- Mini Coopers
These days you are more likely to see stretch limousines produced from the Lincoln Town Car (MKS and MKT) or Navigators, Cadillac XTS or Escalade, Chrysler 300, Hummer H2, Ford Excursion, and more.
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Throughout the years, a chauffeur’s duty served as a stark contrast between the comfortability of his wealthy riders. Covered in a dark cloak and back hunched attempting to escape the cold, wet, or debris surrounding him, one of his most important tasks was to elevate the status of the passenger.
Limo Service Around the World
The phrase seems self-explanatory, but limo service has different meanings depending on where you are or who you are. In the North America, limo service involves a few key elements.
First, there’s a limousine. Then, there’s a private driver – typically referred to as a chauffeur. Lastly, the car includes partitions separating the driver from the rider. Usually that is the vision in most Americans’ minds when they hear the term “limo service.”
German-speaking countries consider any driver for hire – regardless of the vehicle they inhabit – as providing limo service. This means limo service could encompass a trip in any luxury vehicle (i.e. BMW sedan or SUV, Chevy suburban, party bus, Mercedes Sprinter limo, stretch limo, or mini coach). No matter where you are, limo service does require a luxury vehicle and a hired driver. However, how people think about limo service does vacillate to sometimes large degree.
What is Limo Service, Generally Speaking?
While the concept of limo service varies across countries, regions, and individuals, the features remain similar. A company that specializes in limo service delivers on 3 promises:
- High-quality vehicles
- Professionally-trained chauffeurs
- Reliable transportation
You can book a limousine for any event or purpose – even a ride to dinner, safe travel to a concert, or a night on the town!
When you book limo service for a trip, event, or gathering, you aren’t just creating an illusion that turns heads. At its core, limo service operates on the value of respect.
A chauffeur won’t show up wearing jeans and a Metallica shirt that looks like 35 cigarettes have been put out on it. Your driver will wear a three piece, black suit with leather suits and maybe even a spotless pair of white gloves.
A chauffeur won’t arrive late to pick you up or drop you off at your preferred destination. Your driver will treat you as he or she would like to be treated.
Lastly, a chauffeur won’t insist you cater to his or her needs. You control your experience, from the beverage and snacks in the car to the way the driver opens your door (or doesn’t).
The devil is in the details. Limo service providers focus on client satisfaction over everything else and they always strive to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Current State of Limo Service
Today, people ranging from celebrities, politicians, and CEOs to teenagers in prom wear and couples on a date night take advantage of what limo service has to offer. To many, limousines and luxury transportation exceeds personal wealth and class determinations. Booking limo service is a sign of love, celebration, and hope. It’s a way to say “you’re special to me” and “I want you to be safe.” And if the service also makes a person feel a little bit better about themselves and their life, then it’s a win-win in our book.
The rise of rideshare companies and taxi services may continue, but these apps can’t provide the level of prestige, comfort, and security that a chauffeur and luxury car can. Limousine rides generate stories. One driver you meet could have chauffeured Tommy Hilfiger or O.J. Simpson. Another driver has witnessed thousands of marriages conclude in the back of his limo.
How many transportation providers can say their employees have seen the things they’ve seen and helped the clients they’ve helped? If you’re looking for a different type of travel experience – one where you feel not only valued but safe – then consider hiring a professional driver along with limo service.