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The European Court of Justice Advisor Said Uber is a Transport Company

UBER Transportation Services

In a preliminary opinion, an advisor to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said Uber is a transport company, meaning it should be covered by the laws that govern taxis, minicabs and other similar services.

The  non-binding decision from Maciej Szpunar, the advocate general to the court, says the firm is “undoubtedly” a transport firm and “the service offered by Uber cannot be classified as an ‘information society service.” Instead, he added the service amounts to the organization and management of a comprehensive system for on-demand urban transport.

Subsequently, “the service offered by the Uber platform must be classified as a ‘service in the field of transport'”. If classified as such, Uber would fall under and abide by the rules and regulations of each EU country that cover how taxis and minicabs should operate.

Uber is currently used in 21 European countries and has suffered legal set backs in individual courts. In June 2016, French judges slapped the firm with a £625,500 fine for its UberPop service using unlicensed drivers.

Later this year, the ECJ will issue its final decision on the case, which will replace Szpunar’s opinion. In many cases, the ECJ follows the preceding opinion but it is also possible the court will rule in Uber’s favor. If the full decision agrees with the opinion, it could cause expansion headaches for Uber across the continent.

The change would not necessarily mean Uber has to change its business model, nor would it affect all of the European countries it operates in as, in many cases, the company already complies with transport laws. The original case in front of the ECJ stems from a 2014 complaint by a Spanish taxi firm that argued Uber’s operation wasn’t fair due to it not having to comply with the same laws.

Uber says it is waiting for the final decision to be issued later this year but said “being considered a transportation company would not change the way we are regulated in most EU countries as that is already the situation today”.

“It will, however, undermine the much-needed reform of outdated laws which prevent millions of Europeans from accessing a reliable ride at the tap of a button,” added an Uber spokesperson.”

Read full article here 

Jon Ouazdi
TransGates Limousine

Welcome to HALCA

halca Stamp Logo

Welcome to the HALCA


We are very pleased that you have joined The Houston area livery & Charter Association. Our members represent several ethnic groups from all over the world. The association exists to promote and protect the regional interests of chauffeured transportation in Houston and surrounding metropolitan area. It is dedicated to informing, educating and professionalizing its members – chauffeured transportation operators, suppliers, vendors and other associations to ensure the continued growth, development and prosperity of their own organizations and the entire chauffeured transportation industry.

The mission of the HALCA is:

  • To provide a statewide forum for the exchange of information and views by its members.
  • To provide a centralized mechanism for the collection of information and to inform members concerning matters of mutual interest and concern.
  • To advance the interest of the livery industry and its members to local, state and federal agencies.
  • The HALCA believes that each operator has the right to operate their business as they deem it necessary, provided that it complies and operates within the law.
  • The HALCA will work towards educating its members on what is allowed by the rules and regulations of the City of Houston regulatory agencies and various local and federal entities.

Becoming a member of the HLCA is a big deal, and has its benefits:

  • Company listing on the association website
  • The opportunity to network with other Limousine operators and vendors.
  • Use your membership as a pitch to get new customers
  • Enhance your network and business opportunities
  • Broaden your knowledge and learn the Industry standards
  • Stay informed on updates on policies, and regulations
  • You’ll Be Heard Where It Counts: HLCA fights for the issues that directly impact the limousine business in Houston. You have a powerful voice through the association representative with the County and local legislative and regulatory efforts.
  • You’ll Save Money: The HALCA offers many discount programs including plans for Carwash, Auto care, Auto parts, printing, office supplies and restaurant discounts..
  • You’ll get the HLCA Seal: The HLCA is the only Houston association serving the luxury chauffeured ground transportation industry. HCLA membership confirms you stand with the very best in the profession. You may display the HCLA logo proudly on your website, in your brochure, and on your label.

Please mark your calendar for the next meeting on 06/21/2016 starting at 6:00 PM. Meeting location will be provided on a later day

We hope to see you there.

Jon Ouazdi



HALCA Supports Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner for Upholding the Regulations.

The Houston area Livery & Charter Association (HALCA) congratulate Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner for Upholding The Comprehensive Regulation of Ride-Hailing Services

PR Newswire

Houston, May 4, 2016

Houston, May 4, 2016/PRNews/ — The The Houston area Livery & Charter Association (HALCA) ( praises Mayor Turner’s support for fingerprint-based background checks for ride-hailing services in the city of Houston. HALCA Board Members commend his oath of office to protect the citizens of Houston, in the open letter below on behalf of the membership of the Houston area Livery & Charter Association (HALCA).

Halca Logo


Dear Mayor Turner,

As the Board Members of The Houston area Livery & Charter Association (HALCA). HALCA is a non-profit organization comprised of ground transportation providers across the greater Houston Metropolitan Area, committed to upholding the integrity of our industry. We go to great lengths to ensure that drivers and passengers consistently travel in the safest conditions possible. We insist transportation providers properly screen all drivers, perform comprehensive background checks, comply with all training standards, undergo routine drug screening, and comply with all regulations established by responsible municipalities. To that end, we adhered to the Ride Responsibly ( initiative to further educate the public about the current risks involved in utilizing ride-hailing services.

Your allegiance to your citizens’ wellbeing with regard to Transportation Network Companies (TNC), such as Uber and Lyft has been unfolding in the brightest of spotlights. As such, we feel compelled to publically voice our own, as well as The HALCA’s support for you and your stance on this critical issue. The TNCs have used innovative technology to introduce the populace to the convenience that ground transportation providers bring to the public at large. HALCA not only acknowledges, but embraces these technological advancements. However, we also know that the implementation of technology does not grant us immunity from the laws and regulations that have been put into place to protect drivers and passengers. Technology must not progress faster than the government’s ability to safeguard our citizens.

The drivers of these TNCs operate in a manner that – with few exceptions – mirrors taxi and private “black car” services, and interact with a large cross section of our populous in Houston. It is only fair that the citizens of our great city step into a TNC-operated vehicle with the same confidence and security they have when using any other means of private ground transportation.

The Houston area Livery & Charter Association (HALCA) applauds you, and proudly stands by your side.

Thank you,

HALCA Board members The Houston area Livery & Charter Association



The Houston area Livery & Charter Association (HALCA) is a Houston based nonprofit organization responsible for and dedicated to representing the interests of the private driver transportation industry at the local level. It is the unified voice of this industry – linking transportation industry professionals from owners and operators to suppliers, manufacturers, and regional limousine associations. With more than 500 members, the Association is committed to exceeding expectations with regards to professionalism, transportation efficiency and safe riding.

For additional information on HALCA, please visit

SOURCE The Houston area Livery & Charter Association (HALCA)

Jon Ouazdi


Hardy Toll Road Closure

The Hardy Toll Road will be Toll Tag Only beginning Monday at 5am.  To prepare for this, the Hardy Toll Road will close TOMORROW AT NOON and will remain closed until 5am MONDAY morning!
More info here:

Hardy Toll Road & Hardy Airport Connector to be Completely Closed in Both Directions

July 15, 2016 at 12:00 PM – July 18, 2016 at 5:00 AM

To all Houston Limousine Operators

The Hardy Toll Road will become an EZ TAG-only facility beginning July 18.

To prepare for this change, both the Hardy Toll Road and the Hardy Airport Connector will be completely closed in both directions beginning Friday, July 15 at 12 p.m. (noon) through Monday, July 18 at 5 a.m.




All cash lanes at the H Hardy main lane plazas will be permanently closed beginning Thursday, July 14 at 8 p.m.

All entrance ramps to the Hardy Toll Road, including from IH 45, the Sam Houston Toll way, and IH 610 will be closed throughout the weekend from July 15 at 12 p.m. (noon) to July 18 at 5 a.m.

The Hardy Toll Road will re-open as EZ TAG only on Monday, July 18 at 5 a.m. The Hardy Toll Road and Grand Parkway interchange will also open to traffic at this time.

Drivers are advised to plan ahead and use alternate routes during this weekend to avoid major delays.

Frequent users of the Hardy who do not have an EZ TAG should get one now. Users can open an EZ TAG account online using a credit card or bank account, or buy the new EZ TAG powered by BancPass at local H-E-B and Corner Stores and reload with cash at any H-E-B or CVS Pharmacy.

Learn more about the Hardy Toll Road project.

All Houston Limousine companies should subscribed to the HCTRA to stay informed about road closure and other useful information.

Thank you.


Jon Ouazdi

HALCA Meeting Summary 06/21/16- Get the scoop of the event

June 21, 2016

Next meeting:  September 20,2016 Location: Spaghetti Warehouse

7:10pm Wes Hart, President, called meeting to order.

Bo from Dean & Draper is sponsoring 3 door prizes to be pulled during meeting. 1st winner was Joe K from AAA Limo, Amer H from AAmbassador won 2nd gift card, Bilal K from All Star Limo won 3rd..

I.        Introduced Nikki Cooper & Katherine Bruning from City of Houston ARA to discuss reporting requirements.

a.       They said all information can be found by going to their website below

To read the VFH Data Submission requirement click on the link below

To access VFH Data form please click the link below

You can also find the entire ordinance by going to of Texas-city of Houston-Chapter 46

Please mark your calendar for these due dates for filling the Data Submission report

Due Date

Months Covered

April 20

January February March
July 20 April May


October 20

July August


January 20 October November


b.      Everyone signed a waiver in 2014 but now reports are required to be reported by the 20th of the month of the end of each quarter. There are several reports due & they now have a new app on their website for ease of answering. You do not have to report all at one time. If you only have ability to answer some of them now, you may fill out waivers for the remaining reports.

i.    Some reports are: 1. Total trips in each quarter 2. Total amount of revenue retained by drivers 3. Total number of trips refused in each zip code 4. Total number of trips accepted in each quarter  ALL REPORTS CAN BE FOUND ON THE WEBSITE ABOVE

c.       Super Bowl- they are still working on plans & routes. They hope to be working with the airport to try to get a one stop shop at Permitting Office so drivers can get City VFH & airport badge in one location. Right now anyone can get a 30 day permit if the company has submitted requirements & meets them.

d.      They anticipate going to Council again in August with some recommendations & changes to the ordinance again.

e.       Matt Asolin asked if they would be implementing what City of Austin does during F1 which is reciprocity permits: all drivers with vehicle for hire license in San Antonio, Dallas & Houston are automatically granted temporary permits for those large events. ARA said they are looking at several options.

II.    Karhoo presentation- Tarek said he would email us his presentation & offered to pay association fees for one year to anyone who signs up in the next 2 weeks. There are $0 costs to join Karhoo. They bring us rides through their API. They are consumer facing market place, a comparison app on a mobile platform. They are expedia of ground transportation. You can reach him at,

III.   Phillip spoke about Chauffeur Driven meetings and gave away one meeting pass to a member for Washington DC conference in October

IV.   New Business

a.   Bylaws Changes: Wes distributed ballots to vote on 2 items.

Section F Required Attendance & Removal of Directors:   Board Members are required to attend all Board Meetings throughout the year.  After 3 unexcused absences in a calendar year, a Director is removed from the Board of Directors, unless excused by the Board President.   Any or all of the directors may be removed for cause by a vote of the members or by action of the Board. Directors may be removed by the Board if sufficient cause exists only by vote of at least two-thirds (2/3). Any Director previously removed by the Board will not be eligible to hold any future positions as an officer unless voted to be reinstated by at least two-thirds (2/3) of the votes of the Board of Directors. Candidates from companies, organizations or associations in which a Director was previously removed are not eligible to hold any officer position in t

Votes were collected but it was not announced who won.

Follow up:

– Presentation from Karhoo

-minutes to all members

-run cards for anyone who signed up

-updated membership spreadsheet

-in future meetings we need to begin w/”Turn your cell phones to vibrate”, have water available, have a credit card swipe or internet access to allow people to pay on the spot, introduce board at the beginning, give reports from Treasurer, Membership, and Community Relations Committees

Meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM


Jon Ouazdi

KARHOO – What is it?

Karhoo App

Welcome to Karhoo

One app, all your cars

Karhoo is the ride comparison app that gives you the choice of more cars from more fleets than anyone else.

We give you all the information so you can choose the right car, at the right time, for the right price. Be it taxis, community car services, black cars, executives, or luxury vehicles, whatever car you need, Karhoo has it. All on one app.

Karhoo is the ride comparison app that aggregates taxis, community car services, black cars, executives and luxury vehicles – all together on one app.

Karhoo offers service providers a platform to join the e-hailing revolution, resulting in more rides, more customers and more incremental revenue. We provide the marketing and the tech. You do what you do best: pick up customers.

Customers are on their phones 24/7, and now you can be there, too.

Please note: Karhoo connects fleets and customers, we are not an app for individual drivers.

To find out more about getting on board with Karhoo, Click here


Jon Ouazdi


Limo Meet & Greet Area at IAH Airport

IAH Meet & Greet
Houston, TX 11/03/2016
The limo drivers’ Meet & Greet areas in IAH and Hobby Airports are now mandatory for all the drivers starting November 03, 2016. When the area is full, drivers will be expected to remain in the vicinity of the marked area. Any drivers standing by the exit will be ticketed for soliciting. This new rule was established to fight solicitation from the airport, and to prevent illegal operators at the airport, and to reduce congestion in the terminals. Please ensure this information is passed along to all your drivers and affiliates.




 The National Limousine Association (NLA) believes that the underlying purposes for regulating the passenger transportation industry should be applied in the public interests to all operators of passenger transportation. This includes Transportation Network Companies (TNCs).

The public and regulatory interaction with TNCs continues to suffer from misperceptions that affect the safety of the public, the consumer rights of the passengers, the fair treatment of TNC drivers, and the fair application of laws towards bona fide operators of passenger transportation.

Some TNCs have elected not to uphold the same duties as bona fide passenger transportation operators on the grounds that they are merely providing a web-based application that introduces drivers and passengers. Since the facts belie this assertion, the NLA is opposed to treating TNCs as if they are outside of the traditional passenger transportation industry, and thus exempt from having to comply with legal and insurance requirements, which are designed to protect passengers and the public.

Read more


7 Car Repair Mistakes That Can Cost You

7 Tips to check your car

The performance of your car depends to a large extent on you well you maintain it. Your negligence toward car-maintenance could result in your car breaking down sooner than it should. With repair and servicing costs being so high, you could be left with spending considerable amount of money just to get your car working normally again. Well, you can save yourself from all that trouble, if you take good care of your car. In this article, you’ll learn about the most common yet at times expensive mistakes car-owners make and what could be done to remedy them. Read on, to start making smart decisions about your car!

1) Using a Discount Mechanic: There’s nothing wrong in trying to save a few bucks on car repairs, especially when that all important replacement part is quite expensive. But no two mechanics will repair your car the same way. So try to figure out how various mechanics in the area of your vicinity work. Generally, the way to go is strike the balance between the cheapest and the most expensive. It’s best to compare prices between service providers, peruse through the online reviews and get opinion of friends and family for referrals.  Pick a shop that you find convenient and well rated based on reviews from multiple sites like Google, Yelp and Openbay. Car repair can prove to be a bother, so make sure the job once done has been done well. You would hate to take a poorly done repair job back for a re-fix to a different mechanic.

2)  Filling the Engine With the Incorrect Weight/Type of Oil: Many people would confess to having filled their car engines with incorrect weight or type of oil at one point or another. They don’t think it makes any difference as long as the car engine has been filled with some kind of oil. Still more careless car owners would forget to fill the engine altogether. The mark of such drivers is that they could be recognized approaching from 3 blocks away.  Of course it’s a wrong practice; you can’t afford to be negligent with the weight and type of oil you use in your car.  The tell-tale signs of filling your engine with the incorrect oil may not come to the surface instantly, but there’s no denying the fact that continuing with this approach would only deteriorate engine overtime. So make sure you pay utmost attention to the type, may it be synthetic, partial synthetic or nonsynthetic and also the correct weight (i.e 10@-30W, 0W, 40, 5W-20, etc.) of the oil required in your vehicle. Don’t fool yourself into believing that your car would acclimatize itself to whatever oil you pour into it.

3) Persisting with the Dirty Filters When You Need New Ones! Air and fuel filters are a significant part of the car’s anatomy. Keeping them dirty and messy can actually wreak havoc on your car. One of the most common reasons for a check engine light coming on is the failed sensor, which in some acute cases can result in the engine misfiring. Turning a blind eye to it could lead to major problems with the catalytic converter. This could result in the car failing to pass emissions inspection until it gets repaired, the cost for which could be around $1,000 for most cars.

4) Ignoring the Scheduled Maintenance: Number of people don’t even bother going through the car manual. But despite seeming nondescript and useless, it does serve a purpose. Your car manual contains everything you wish to know about your car. It also has some very useful DIY fixes for common car issues that can save you money. The car manual would also have information on when you should take your car for inspection and fine-tuning. Following the instruction given in your car manual will ensure the longevity of your vehicle, practically eliminating the need for constant repairs, and help you save thousands of dollars on maintenance.

5) Failing to Rotate Tires and Check Air Pressure: Forgetting to rotate your tires and failing to keep a check on the air pressure on regular basis can cause uneven tread wear and damage the car’s tires. This can further lead to various other potential problems such as strain on steering and suspension parts (viz. tie rod end), vibration while driving and uneven traction. Most car repair shops would rotate the tires for a nominal fee; or you could do it yourself if you’ve got a jack and jack stand at home. As for the air pressure, you can get that checked at almost any local gas station.  A key thing to note here is that air temperature affects the tire inflation, so even if you’re not noticing any leakage of air from the tires, you still have to get them checked as the weather changes throughout the year.

6) Overlooking Wear on Brake Pads: Can you identify with that screeching sound a car makers as it comes to a stop? Well that’s its brakes asking for help! Carrying on with such brakes is not just irritating for the people around you, but it can mess up your car overtime. Having the brake pads replaced on regular basis will actually help you save money as a brake rotor will last longer if the pads are changed from time to time. On the other hand, if the pads are left unattended until they’re absolutely worn, they will scratch and score the rotor. As someone who’s had their brakes changed would vouch for it, the most expensive part of the job is the rotors. Therefore, preserve them if you want to save money on your car repairs.

7) Neglecting Brake, Transmission and Other Fluids: Besides fuel there are a number of other fluids your car needs to run efficiently. Obviously you’d have to refer to your owner’s manual for the complete list of fluids and their respective change schedules to get the gist of things. You can even do this job yourself and save some money on both front and backend. Even the most clueless of drivers would be able to replace these fluids very easily. Last but not the least; don’t forget to winterize your car! The harsh cold weather can take toll on your vehicle if it catches it un-winterized. Acting on the tips mentioned in this article to dodge the pitfalls will keep your car in good shape and help you save precious time and money that you would otherwise find yourself spending at the car mechanics.

All Limousine companies in Houston must avoid these rookie mistakes when it comes to maintaining their investment vehicles.

Jon Ouazdi


Storm Preparation Tips

Storm preparation tips

HALCA Announcement: With a possible tropical storm on the way, The Houston area Livery & Charter Association has circulated these helpful tips for operators facing storms and floods. These are good tips that apply just about anywhere along the coast and near inland flood-prone areas:

  • Fill the gas tanks in all vehicles.
  • Buy a generator and spare gas cans
  • Be prepared for all business travelers to cancel Sunday/Monday flights and leave sooner
  • Have food and water at your warehouse and encourage some drivers to stay there
  • Put your computer hard drives in waterproof containers. Damage to those can come from leaking roofs, blown out windows. or flooding.
  • You should have gone to a system like ULS or Limo anywhere to have all your reservations and accounting backed up in cyberspace.
  • You should advise clients that as street flooding begins, you will switch to SUVs and shuttle buses which can move through high water better than sedans.


Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall in the early hours of Tuesday. Its effects expected to last through Wednesday. Preparation is the key. The Houston Office of Emergency Management’s Disaster Preparedness Guide has useful checklists to help you prep and keep safe. At the very least, you should review these tips from NOAA:

Storm preparation tips for your household

Before the storm arrives, check to make sure you have:

  • Your car’s tank is filled with gasoline
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid supplies and prescription medications
  • Sterno, charcoal, lighter fluid, and matches or a lighter
  • Candles and matches
  • Flashlight, battery-operated radio and a two-week supply of batteries
  • Bottled water, electrolyte drinks and cooler with gel packs
  • Hammer, nails, masking tape, plywood and plastic for quick home repairs
  • Clean up supplies – pails, mops, brooms and rakes
  • Non-perishable food items, eating utensils, plates, cups and a manual can opener
  • Protective clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes
  • Buy a generator and spare gas cans if you can afford it


Storm preparation checklist

While you’re gathering what you need, be prepared for getting through the storm:

  • Prepare for phone interruption in case service goes down
  • Check your home for any hazards, such as old trees that could fall
  • Secure anything in your lawn that could be blown away
  • Take video or photos for a home inventory
  • Check your insurance policies


Be safe during the storm

Remaining calm during a storm comes first. Even if you’re a veteran on gulf storms, it’s wise to remember this advice:

  • Stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
  • Keep supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
  • If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power “surge” when electricity is restored.
  • Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions.
  • If in a mobile home, check tiedowns and evacuate immediately.
  • Store valuables and personal papers in waterproof containers on the highest level of your home.


Hunker down storm preparation tips

  • If you choose to ride out the storm, should move valuables to upper floors if possible.
  • Fill containers or tubs with several days’ worth of drinking water.
  • Turn your refrigerator to coldest setting and stay indoors on the downwind side of house, away from windows.
  • Beware the eye of the storm; live power lines, rising water and unstable trees and structures continue to be threats despite the temporary calm.
  • Once the all-clear is sounded, be wary of high water or power lines when driving.
  • Report damaged water, sewer and electrical lines.
  • At home, check for gas leaks and spoiled food or water.
  • Once the storm passes


The danger of a storm continues even after it passes.

  • Stay in your protected area until announcements are made on the radio or TV that the dangerous winds have passed.
  • If you have evacuated, do not return home until officials announce your area is ready. Remember, proof of residency may be required in order to re-enter the evacuation areas.
  • Be aware of the surroundings when returning as extreme damage could render a familiar landscape unrecognizable.
  • If your home or building has structural damage, do not enter until it is checked by officials.
  • Beware of outdoor hazards such as downed power lines and any water they may be lying in, poisonous snakes driven from their dens by high water, weakened bridges, washed out roads, weakened limbs on trees, and/or damaged overhanging structures.
  • Do not use the telephone unless absolutely necessary. The system is usually jammed with calls during and after a hurricane.
  • Guard against spoiled food. Use dry or canned food. Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated with flood waters.
  • When cutting up fallen trees, use caution, especially if you use a chain saw. Serious injuries can occur when these powerful machines snap back or when the chain breaks.
  • Notify your insurance agent about damage to your house. Take video or still pictures of damaged property. Keep records of your clean up cost.

All Houston Limousine operators must take safety seriously because in many case all it takes is one miscalculation, and your whole business would be in jeopardy. So be smart, be safe, and plan ahead.

Jon Ouazdi