With more proms, weddings, and social events happening this summer, local limousine companies are beginning to see more customers, but coming out of the pandemic, some companies still are facing challenges.
Challenges that include one Syracuse-based company making changes to its fleet.
Michael Donohue, the general manager of American Limousine, said his company is transitioning away from the conventional limousine, no longer the top choice for weddings and proms, and into new party buses with modern amenities, which he said are much more in demand.
As for business, Donohue said American Limousine has recovered about 50-60% of business as events like weddings, proms and other outings have returned.
But, like many other industries reporting worker shortages, Donohue said its been difficult for him to find qualified drivers.
He said as many part time-jobs remain open due to enhanced unemployment benefits, making it difficult to get drivers to work.
In addition, he said working with many local wineries has been a difficult task because of crowd concerns, but wineries account for about 30% of his business, so he's hopeful many will be changing their policies for the better in the near future.
"A lot of the wineries are not accepting large groups of people, particularly bus loads of people because, not because of COVID, but because they can't handle the crowds. They're also feeling the pinch with people, personnel and they don't have the staff to handle that many people. So, it's affecting everybody in the industry," he said.