Disney Shuttle Impacts Limo Hire
Many limo hire companies rely very heavily on business from airport transfers for their customers and with the new initiative from Disney World, this business may be under threat.
Walt Disney World have recently launched a new initiative, the Magical Express airport shuttle. The success and popularity of the shuttle can be seen by the predicted 2 million passengers who will ride it this year.
The Magical Express is the first of its kind as a free shuttle service from Orlando International Airport to the Disney Resort. In the peak month of April, the shuttle transported 186,238 passengers and eight of the past 15 months have seen over 155,000 passengers. The huge numbers of passengers highlight the significance of adequate airport transport for passengers as over 10% of the passengers who flew into the airport over the last six months were heading to Disney World.
The airport has seen no change in their revenue since the free shuttle service was started in May 2005. The airport does take money from on ground transport services such as the Disney shuttle and this amount is up for the same time last year, however, this is consistent with the increase in passengers flying into the Orlando airport.
Analysis of the figures does however, show that the smaller rental car and limo hire companies are struggling. A drop in sales is seen especially by companies which cater for people looking for budget transport services who are now trying to compete with free services and have been forced to downsize their fleet and staff. Airport transfers were a previously lucrative area for car hire companies and having a large company like Disney offering free transfers creates an unfair monopoly in the market. The Disney Magical Express service has also forced other limo hire companies to lower their rates, often to lower levels than the previous year.
The Disney Shuttle operators have found that during their operating time, new jobs have been created, service standards exceeded, waiting times reduced and roadway congestion reduced, pointing towards the fact that there was inadequate transport already.
So while having one service for the passengers heading to Disney World instead of a number of hire cars or limousines makes for less congestion on the roads, the limo hire companies have little chance of competing with a similar service being offered for no charge.