Ditch The Rental - Take the Beach Limo

A black gleaming car, impeccable service around town, nice suit . . .

After nearly two sun-drenched weeks with Bob Guinia, owner of Beach Transportation Professional Sedan Service, and my I-get-high-on-life driver Don Shepardson, I realize that I have a hip, happenin’ story on my hands with a little San Diego culture, urban history, and an entrepreneurial twist tossed into the mix.

Bob and his business moved right on up like George and Wheezy.  Who’s that, you ask?  You know, George Jefferson!  Deluxe apartment in the sky-y-y-y.

Bob had basically retired from the 8-to-5 grind but some investments went south so in ’93 he started driving a taxi. This allowed for flexibility ant time to be his own boss and call his own shots.  No time clocks, no supervision, and no corporate politics. Plus, getting to meet all kinds of people just can’t be beat!

Three years later, the Republican Convention is going on full fledge in San Diego and all the businesses were decking out in red, white, and blue.  Bob decides to get on the political fashion train and plastered an American flag on the headliner of his taxi.  It was a hit with everyone who rode in the patriotic vehicle!

With the ever-changing seasons came the ever-changing décor inside the cab. In autumn, creepy black spiders, round orange pumpkins, and ghostly treats dangled from above — The Halloween Cab. 

Christmas finds him decking the “halls with boughs of holly” and with anything and everything having to do with the yuletide season.  As the bells jingle and the baubles jangle inside the car, nearly 99% of the people rave about the whole setup.  The remaining 1% thought the entire thing was a little strange.  Strange or not, it catches everyone’s attention!

Wanting a phone number that people could easily remember, Bob tried to acquire 888.CALLBOB and 888.GETRIDE and so many other catchy phrases but nothing is available.  Finally, after two months of song and dance, back and forth with the phone company, he is able to claim 888/462-6246, which is now the infamous GOBOBGO.

The San Diego beach area is where it’s at for the taxi business because parents don’t want their kids driving home after fun-in-the-sun beach parties.  Bob’s phone is ringing off the hook during crowded weekends.

So to kick it up and to really capture the young crowd’s attention, he invited MTV to come along on the ride via a LCT monitor, that is.  Nowadays, in-car video is everywhere, but back in ’96 television on the go was a jetsetter for sure!

And so Bob had his program:  seasonally-appropriate junk dangling everywhere, MTV videos jamming without commercials, and the GOBOBGO phone number! 

ll was not well in this cab driving paradise; one day a BIG guy, over 6’ 4” tall, plops into the festive taxi and bonks his head on the TV monitor.  So hello safety issue and goodbye party car!  On top of that, to operate a taxi with a city permit in California it is $40,000, but for a limo it is only $500.

It is 11:32 p.m. and I arrive at the Lindburgh Airport in San Diego and I am scoping out someone with a “Jetsetters” sign. Appearing like a main cast member from The Godfather, Don is a massive man with impeccable Italian looks — from his jet black hair down to his polished, pointy-toe shoes.  I am not sure if I want to flee from this mafia look-alike or to ride in his limo, which is even shinier than his hair and shoes, I manage to squeeze in a smile and a weak “hello”.  Suddenly, Don beams a dimpled grin that spans his whole face and shows that his heart is more colossal than his frame. 

Beach Transportation is at my beck and call during my entire stay, along with catering to other visitors, famous and not so famous.  The drivers all work smoothly with one another, all coordinated by Bob, making sure that everyone’s needs are met and that driver and client’s personalities have a good fit. 

I relish being Queen for ten days in their Lincoln Town Cars, with private transportation at my every whim, and a driver who also serves as personal bodyguard.  All eyes fall on me when standing by my side is powerful Don with his black suit, dark sunglasses, and demanding size.  Who’s going to mess with Don Vito Corleone’s double.  (Pssst….we don’t have to let anyone know that Don’s really just a kid at heart!)

Don and the other drivers also make great in-the-know and off-the-beaten path tour guides, recommending perfect locales.  This isn’t a requirement of the job.  All they have to do is get clients to their destinations and back but the team loves their jobs, and especially their employer, so they go the extra mile, literally.

Now Bob has a great niche, covering all airports and transportation terminals throughout southern California, with excellent rates for those who want limo service without the expense; and with a more pampered ride and service than public transportation such as taxi and bus. Rates start as just $25.00 to downtown San Diego, much cheaper than taking a taxi.  Plus, a fleet of six cars allows for plenty of business but not so much that quality is lacking. Be sure to check out their ride at www.sedan.biz  You can call the gang at 888/462-6246, send a fax to 619/233-9235, or e-mail to bob@beachlimo.com and don@beachlimo.com.

This taxi to limo tale ends about a business tha is one, two, and three steps above the others, catering to the dynamics of business and the vacationing public demand, and in the process finding success in doing what he loves to do.

The moral of this story:  Put others first, love what you do, think out of the box, and you too can move on up like just like the Jeffersons.  You know, George and Wheezy!

By Lena Hunt Mabra, Kansas City Correspondent.

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