Pure luxury car service
At a time when ride-booking companies like Uber are shaking up the taxi industry, Petaluma’s Pure Luxury Transportation is launching its own on-demand car service, BlinkCar.
Pure Luxury, which has a fleet of more than 130 chauffeured vehicles, this winter began BlinkCar, one of the nation’s first on-demand services to be offered by a traditional limousine company.
The new business has a smartphone app that allows passengers to request and obtain rides within minutes in either a regular or luxury sedan or an SUV. The driver can take the client across town or across the Bay Area, with payment handled via a credit card registered with the app.
What sets BlinkCar apart from other ride-booking services is that its drivers aren’t independent contractors using their private cars but rather trained, company employees driving Pure Luxury’s own vehicles. The sedans and SUVs are fully insured, regularly inspected and cleaned inside and out each day, said Pure Luxury owners Gary and Jennifer Buffo.
BlinkCar offers “all the things you would want” from an on-demand car service, said Jennifer Buffo.
Pure Luxury has 184 employees and operates the 17th largest fleet in the United States, according to Limousine Charter and Tour Magazine. Its vehicles include stretch limos, 12-person executive vans equipped with leather captain chairs and satellite dishes and full-size motor coaches, or buses.
The 24-year-old Petaluma company has grown significantly, opening operations in both Napa Valley and Foster City in the past two years. Its work includes weddings, tours, airport transportation and business events.
The company’s mindset is “we don’t want to lose a customer, ever, ” Gary Buffo said.
The Buffos began BlinkCar in Petaluma in December. They plan to expand it next week to Santa Rosa and Sonoma and this spring begin operations in the Napa Valley. They hope that if the business takes off, other car service companies will want to become affiliates and use the app in their cities.
The on-demand business is starting as a growing number of passengers are turning to ride-booking companies whenever they need a lift.
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