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Chauffeur - Sussex
A chauffeur is one who drives an automobile as a job. While the term may refer to anybody who drives for a living, it usually implies a driver of a luxury sedan, especially a limousine; those who drive non-luxury cars are simply called "drivers" (as in bus drivers). In some countries, particularly developing nations where a ready supply of labor ensures that even the middle classes can afford domestic staff, the chauffeur is simply called the "driver."
People sometimes employ chauffeurs to drive them in their own cars, and there are services offering limousines including chauffeurs for rent. This is very similar to but more luxurious than taking a taxicab.
The requirements to be a chauffeur vary depending on location. Most of the requirements are established on a state or municipality level. In addition to a regular driver's license, some areas require a chauffeur to obtain an additional license, and to meet certain minimum age and driving experience requirements, and only with a clean driving history.
Chauffeur is the French word for driver. It comes from the verb "chauffer" (to heat) and also means "he who heats". In the early years of railroads, the driver had to keep the engine hot, hence the pronoun.
Most limousine companies in the United States and the EU require their chauffeurs to undergo extensive training courses. These courses involve evasive or defensive driving techniques. These courses also teach the proper methods to ensure safety in the most extreme conditions like a flat tire at high speeds, loss of control of the vehicle, etc. Most companies will also have their own courses of what they expect from their chauffeurs. The chauffeurs are be taught the proper etiquette when they are in the presence of the client. All companies require random drug screening to maintain only the utmost professionals to represent their companies.
Proper attire is worn by the chauffeur at all times. This usually includes a cleaned and pressed black or dark suit and jacket, a pressed, crisp dress shirt and appropriate tie, as well as polished black shoes. Some companies have uniforms for their chauffeurs, and some require that hats are worn in addition to the uniform. Some companies do not keep strictly to this standard, and there is wide variation throughout the transportation industry.
Limousine - Sussex
A limousine (or limo) is an unusually long luxury car, traditionally black or white in color. Limousines are most commonly driven by chauffeurs.
While some limousines are owned by individuals, many are owned by governments to transport senior politicians, by large companies to transport executives, or by broadcasters to transport guests. Most limousines, however, operate as livery vehicles, providing upmarket competition to taxicabs.
The word limousine is derived from the name of the French region Limousin, where the inhabitants wore a hood perceived to be similar to the profile of the car.
Limousine ownership and rental
For the most part, only limousine service and rental companies own limousines. Even those who use limos as their main mode of city transportation usually do not own the limo — they contract with a limousine service for long term availability through a lease arrangement. Those in need of a limo will usually contact a rental company to provide transportation on a very short term basis. The most common requirements are for transportation to an airport, proms and weddings.
A limousine typically has a partition between the driver compartment and the rear passenger compartment. This partition usually contains a sliding glass window so that conversations between passengers in the rear compartment may be kept private from the chauffeur.
Traditionally, the limousine has been an extension of a large sedan. A longer frame and wheelbase allow the rear passenger compartment to contain the usual forward facing passenger seat but with a substantial amount of footroom — more than is actually needed. Usually then two "jump seats" are mounted, facing rearward behind the driver. These seats fold up when not in use. In this way, up to five persons can be carried in the aft compartment in comfort, and up to two additional persons carried in the driver's compartment, for a total capacity of seven passengers in addition to the driver. This type of seat configuration has however become less popular in recent limousines. Newer limousines such as the Maybach 62. Audi A8L, BMW 760li, Lincoln Town Car;L Edition,and the Cadillac DTS do not feature such seats since stretch limousines are usually used to transport more than three passengers, excluding the driver. Vehicles of this type in private use may contain expensive audio players, televisions, video players, and bars, often with refrigerators.
Most stretch limousines are Lincoln Town Car models. However, coachbuilders have recently built many new models including Hummer H2's and Hummer H3's.
Most modern limousines are extended in length far beyond that required for personal use. These are typically used to transport partygoers to and from events such as dances and weddings. These vehicles are often based upon cars with body on frame instead of unibody construction easing the conversion into a stretch limousine. Rather than the typical transverse seating these will have benches along the length of the extension, either on one side or on both sides. This allows the travelers to face one another, unlike the traditional "stage" vehicle, which uses multiple doors to access rows of forward facing seats. In addition to the traditional black (considered appropriate for funerals, as it is a mourning color in western societies) many white limousines are now operated (considered appropriate for weddings in western societies).
Another type of vehicle modified for multiple passenger use is the motorized stage, applied to the same tasks as the earlier stagecoach. It is not considered a true limousine but rather in its design and application is between a sedan and a bus. While a bus will have a central interior aisle for access to seating, a stage has multiple doors that allow access to transverse forward facing seats. Examples of the type were constructed not only from sedans (e.g., Chrysler New Yorker, Cadillac DeVille), but also from station wagons; many of the station wagon conversions sported a large rack, running the length of the roof, for carrying the passengers' baggage.
This type of vehicle was once rather common in some locations. An example of its use was in the transport of travelers arriving by railroad at Merced, California to Glacier National Park and Yosemite National Park in the first half of the 20th century. In Glacier National Park, these were referred to as "Jammers" in reference to the nickname of their gear-jamming drivers. In Yosemite, passengers would then stay in rustic platform tent camps or more expensive lodges (both of which are still available) and hike or rent bicycles for movement around the park.
A modern version of the stage is seen in some novelty stretch Hummer or Hummer H2 vehicles. Some funeral homes maintain six-door stages to carry the family of the deceased between the church and the cemetery. These are usually not used for private hire.
Exotic custom limousines
Sometimes a custom coach builder or custom car designer will develop the "ultimate" stretch limo, adding amenities that are somewhat impractical but which make a significant design statement. One such design includes double rear axles to support the weight of an operational hot tub.
Custom coach builders can perform aftermarket extensions on luxury sedans and SUVs. These extensive limousine conversions have been performed on several luxury marques, including: Audi, Bentley, BMW, Cadillac, Chrysler, Ford, Holden, Hummer, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, and Rolls-Royce. In the United States the most popular vehicles for stretch limousines conversion are the Lincoln Town Car, Cadillac DTS, Hummer H2, and the Lincoln Navigator. There are even instances of Corvettes and VW Bugs being stretched to accommodate up to 10 passengers.
Most custom coach builders are located in the United States and Europe and cater mainly to limousine companies. Few such vehicles are available for public hire. A typical price to buy a Lincoln Town Car sedan and have it stretched to hold 6 passengers is approximately USD $85,000 (at 2006 prices) depending on the additional features added into the vehicle. In addition to luxuries, security features such as armoring and bulletproof glass are available.
A Party Bus or Party Ride is a large motor vehicle designed to carry many passengers. The most common sizes of Party-Bus are a 16 Passenger version and a 20 Passenger version. Some variation exists, some LimoBuses may hold up to 30 or 35 passengers comfortably. A Mini-Bus comes in 2 common sizes: 24 and 30 passengers. Party buses may offer leather couch seating, surround sound stereo systems, CD/DVD player, plasma televisions, laser, disco or strobe lights, smoke machines and more. They are primarily used for, although not limited to, weddings, proms and bachelor and bachelorette parties as well as round trips to casinos, nights on the town, birthdays and city tours. There are differences between a typical 'Mini-Bus' or 'Shuttle Bus' and a 'Party Bus' or 'LimoBus'. The main distinction is that a normal shuttle bus has a normal airline-style seating arrangement with a center aisle down the middle with 2 seats on either side. A LimoBus or Party Bus has the seating arrangement of a limousine, with leather couches surrounding the open middle section, i.e.; 'surround seating'. The LimoBus is also defined by the luxury of the vehicle - it has the usual assortment of luxuries such as: a star light ceiling, at least one but more often multiple flat screen TV's with DVD/VCR capabilities, Sony Playstation 2's or XBox's are common, there are many with hardwood floors or fireplaces. Business often use LimoBuses for their corporate roadshows because of the level of comfort afforded them in these vehicles.
The most common uses for limousines and chauffeured transportation include: corporate roadshows, airport transportation, funerals, weddings, proms, bachelor[ette] parties, birthday events, city tours, shopping, a day at the spa, nights-on-the town, bar-hopping and clubbing, holiday parties, holiday light tours, transportation to or from a resort and crosstown transfers.
- School Proms
- Southampton & Dover Docks
- Goodwood, Ascot and Epsom
- London Theatres
- London Shopping
- London Hotels
- London Tours
- Brighton Dining
- Glyndebourne Opera
- Goodwood Revival & Festival of Speed
- Chilled champagne
- Belgian Chocolates
- Mercedes S-Class luxury, seating 4 adult guests
- Suited chauffeur with cap
- Day Hire
- Evening Hire
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