The pressure on the ground transportation industry to compete with transportation network companies (or TNCs), at least technologically, has been on for some time. Lately, solutions have been appearing on the landscape.

We recently covered one such solution, Deem, which EmpireCLS also partnered with, along with other high-profile National Limousine Association members. Deem was designed to provide the same kind of real-time ride hailing and advanced reservations that TNC technology makes possible, with the added advantage of using only operators that meet the NLA’s rigorous standards for safety and service.

Deem, while unique in several other ways, is not the only platform set to compete with TNC apps at a high level. iCars, a San Francisco-based application, has already seen success in its hometown (with 300-400 runs per day), and major cities across the nation can now look forward to its widespread launch this year.

iCars was found by Gary Bauer, owners of Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, as a response to the kinds of security and service gaps that cause problems for many TNC clients and the indsutry at large. iCars, like Deem, offers high-quality ground transportation both on-demand and in advance.

Unlike the TNC model, which uses contractors who don’t undergo extensive background checks or require insurance, iCars enlists only operators that meet limousine industry regulations like minimum driver and vehicle insurance, driver background checks and screening, vehicle maintenance standards and safety codes.

One of the most important differences between TNC apps and apps like iCars is an adherence to the Duty of Care outlined by the National Limousine Association. Whereas TNCs have only vague guidelines and minimal standards for customer care, the National Limousine Association requires that ground transportation operators invest significant time, energy and capital into ensuring the safety of their passengers.

This includes stringent standards for hiring chauffeurs, including a preliminary background check, substance abuse testing, driver training, a medical examination, consistent supervision and appropriate discipline. The Duty of Care also requires that operators secure commercial insurance and proper licensing, as well as adhere to regular inspections and vehicle maintenance.

In addition to the provisions of the Duty of Care, iCars offers conveniences like on-demand and advance reservations, third-party bookings for concierge and business travel managers, group bookings, private networks for existing clients of each operator, route optimization and automated dispatch.

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