Why a Sprinter? What is a Sprinter anyway?
In the last few years, a few things have happened that have shaped a portion of the limousine industry I lovingly call – people moving. This is what O’Hare-Midway, and other limousine services used their “stretch vehicles” for in the past. However, since most corporate clients began shifting away from limousines prior to the economic collapse of 2008, and have continued to shun them since, an alternative needed to be found for moving groups that were too large for sedans but to small for buses.
Vans come in many shapes and sizes. Until a few years ago, most of the vans used in limousine services were basic passenger vans that could be rented as needed. Of course, some companies invested in custom designed vans that – while more costly – offered a higher level of comfort.
It is unclear who first made the decision to try a Mercedes Sprinter as a livery vehicle, but O’Hare-Midway was one of the first (if not THE first) in the Chicago limousine market to put one into service. We have been gradually reducing the number of stretch limousines in recent years – from over one hundred in the mid 1990’s – to less than 20 today, but found that periodically, clients still needed a big vehicle. They just didn’t want that vehicle to be a limousine. We have mini-coach buses, but they didn’t want a 25 passenger bus for a group of half that size. Enter the Sprinter.
So far, all the reviews on the Sprinter have been positive. They are a little unusual looking, but that’s not a bad thing. They are affordable, and easy to customize. From the client perspective, they are tall, so standing upright is easy for just about anyone, with the exception of basketball players. Seating configurations make getting to rear seats simple, and…for a van…the ride is definitely Mercedes.
The reality is that (for the immediate future), limousines are a dying breed. In actuality, they are becoming a true “specialty vehicle”, like the super stretch Hummers were a decade ago. The companies that make them are shifting more of their attention to buses and vans, and as time goes on these vehicles will become more familiar to the traveling public. Get used to them, because the next time you travel to the airport with a small group of friends or family, it may be in an OML Sprinter Van!