For 30 years, I’ve been involved in Chicago ground transportation, and for probably 20 of those years, little changed as far as client vehicle preference is concerned. That all began to change around a decade ago, and most certainly accelerated after “The Great Recession” slapped “Corporate America” in the face. Today, the face of our industry is different than it was when I became a chauffeur, and as limousine and bus transportation continues to evolve, we will continue to see more changes.
The impetus for the overall change is a simple matter of economics; buses can move more people, and cost less per person to operate. This falls right into the new “corporate code” of keeping ground transportation costs down, even if they aren’t concerned with containing other travel related expenses. And while it makes good fiscal sense, the overall result of being cost-conscious can have a negative impact in the long run.
To compare a bus to a limousine is to compare a Big Mac to a filet mignon. While both are essentially in the same “food group”, the product itself couldn’t be any more different. For instance, in the Chicago bus market, there are players of various sizes and quality, and knowing who to use can be tricky. Catchy names or elaborate websites can mask inept operators, but don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of reliable and honest options available. The buying public just needs to do their homework.
O’Hare-Midway offers both limousine and bus transportation, so we have an interest in the success of both, but we are also keeping a close eye on the ongoing evolution of the ground transportation industry as well as the needs of travelers. It would be easy to ride the wave and shift to a bus fleet, but our history and culture is quality car service, and as long as the need remains, OML will be there.