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Sunday, March 11 2018
Spring Break and Commercial Transportation

Orlando, Fla. — Spring Break is a very popular holiday and vacation period in Florida. It attracts hundreds of thousands of young people and tourists every year, offering them endless fun and entertainment. Inspired by the possibility of surf, sand and sunshine, while most of the northern states are still suffering the effects of a cruel winter, students head south for spring break, flocking to popular coastal destinations such as Panama City, Florida among others. For many of the 57.6% of college students who attend college in the Mid-Atlantic, New England or Great Lakes regions, this means packing flip-flops and sunscreen into a carry-on and catching a southbound flight. 

According to the US Department of Transportation, domestic revenue passenger miles (RPMs), a calculation of the number of paying passengers by distance traveled, trends about 3.0% to 5.0% higher in March than on average. 

However, for airports located near major spring break destinations, waves of college students can cause revenue passenger miles to increase as much as 50.0% in March. In 2016 alone, Florida’s Daytona Beach International Airport outperformed its 2015 average by 17.3% in March, while the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport bested its yearly average by a substantial 22.2% during the same period. 

In 2017, contributing to the sunny outlook of the $156.1-billion Domestic Airlines industry, relatively low fuel prices are expected to sustain high profit margins this season. In fact, profit represented 12.5% of the average airline’s revenue in 2016, up from 6.2% in 2011.

A study showed that spring break guests spend the bulk of their budget — 32 percent — on accommodations. Food and drink amounts to 23 percent of a visitor’s budget, followed by entertainment (19 percent) and transportation (10 percent).

This event is definitely one of the highlights of each year. Visitors can sample the exciting nightlife and discover Florida’s beautiful beaches and landmarks. Panama City Beach, for example, is by many considered the Spring Break capital of the world, as it is by far the most popular choice for students and tourists who want to taste the ultimate experience.

While it is indeed very colorful and fun, there are times when situations arise among these young crowds.

Drivers may encounter difficult or aggressive passengers during the course of their duties. These passengers have the potential to distract and distress the driver.

This includes all types of commercial transportation for tourism, including limousines, taxis, airport shuttles, Uber, Lyft, etc. If a passenger's conduct distracts the driver it may be unsafe to continue the journey. 

Some examples of misbehavior:

• Being disruptive and non-cooperative

• Verbal threats, intimidation or harassment

• Physical assault and spitting

• Throwing objects and projectiles

• Damaging property on the bus

• Intoxication - drinking, smoking or drug use

• Bullying and violence.

Here are some tips for drivers dealing with these types of situations:

• Treat passengers with dignity and respect at all times

• Accept differences in culture, language, religion, accents, gender and speech patterns

• Speak clearly and ask passengers to repeat information if you are unsure

• Remain calm, polite and professional at all times. Don't take insults or offensive language personally. Remember, your response may turn a minor situation into a major conflict

• Maintain self control. Loss of temper affects drivers' judgement, reduces their driving ability and increases their stress

• Empathize with the passenger when possible.

It is important to remember when dealing with difficult, intoxicated or drug affected passengers that their ability to make reasonable and rational decisions is greatly reduced.

If the situation escalates, here are a few recommendations:

  • Stop the vehicle when and where considered safe.
  • Open all doors.
  • Remain in the driver's seat or area if appropriate.
  • Request the difficult or aggressive passenger to step off  the vehicle.
  • Do not physically handle the passenger unless you are acting in self-defense. (If acting in self-defense the amount of force used must be reasonable and proportional.)
  • Call the Authorities.
  • Call a supervisor.
  • Wait until the police arrive.
Posted by: Annie Rodriguez AT 11:47 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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