Dubbo's only registered limo hire company - Central West Limousines - says a lack of cooperation from the local council is forcing them to pack up and leave for Tamworth.
"With a council so rigid and closed minded you can't grow," said Shane Allan Clews, owner of Central West Limousines.
Mr Clews started the business in 2019 after seeing a gap in the market for luxury transport in the Central West. At the time, he and his wife owned a florist and often their wedding clients asked if he knew of any limo hire businesses in the area.
"We had a friend come in and we were doing her flowers. She was going to get a car out of Sydney and obviously the price was exorbitant - then I did some numbers and that was that, I went and bought a car, Mr Clews said.
"Since everything opened back up after lockdown, we've had bookings every weekend since January. Weddings are our biggest market, but we've also been getting a lot of joy rides before groups of girls go out for dinner and drinks."
While the service has proved popular for wedding parties, formals and VIPs appearing at the Establishment Bar - and has built up a number of repeat joy-ride clients - Mr Clews said dealing with council and government regulations has been a challenge for the business's operations.
Finding a spot around town and at the airport large enough to park their 8.5 and 9.5 metre Chrysler Stretch Limousines is always a challenge and, in March, Mr Clews was slapped with a $150 fine for parking in a bus zone at the airport. Currently there are no public bus services which run to the airport and the bus zone is utilised by a private bus service which offers airport transfers.
"At the airport there's nowhere for our vehicles to park - there's a taxi rank there, but under transport regulations a booking service is not allowed to use the taxi rank. Further up from that there's a bus stop, and even though our vehicles are registered as buses we're not allowed to use the bus zone," he explained.
As well as offering luxury transportation, Central West Limousines is contracted by Work Cover to run essential medical transfers for people living in more remote parts of the region, like Cobar, heading to Sydney for specialist appointments or surgery.
Mr Clews would like to see part of the part of the airport's bus zone or taxi rank reallocated for booking services like his and ride share cars. In June, he wrote a letter to council with his suggestion but did not receive a response.
"We're not asking for the parking lot to be redeveloped, which could cost millions of dollars, we simply want a $200 sign which would allow one or two vehicles to be able to park there," he said.
Anywhere we park or pull up we're liable to be booked for double parking.- Shane Allan Clews
After the Daily Liberal contacted Dubbo regional council on Thursday, Mr Clews finally received a response from airport management stating they "do not see any areas being allocated in the near future for ride share" and saying the general car park "would be the best option".
"Dubbo Regional Council staff have been in contact with Mr Clews to discuss solutions that will accommodate his service's needs and meet the regulatory requirements of a public road," Dean Frost, council's Director Organisational Performance told the Daily Liberal.
"Dubbo Regional Airport has a dedicated bus and taxi zone, and a car park which can accomodate 350+ vehicles. In addition to these marked parks, there are a number of unmarked spaces that surround the car park that can be used by large vehicles such as trucks, vehicles with trailers and limousine transfer service providers."
In their correspondence with Mr Clews, Council also promised to install long vehicle parking signage at the southern and northern ends of the general car park to make the appropriate zone for vehicles like his more clear.
But for Mr Clews the response was too little too late and he felt he had no other option but to take his business out of town - the deal is yet to be finalised.
"Anywhere we park or pull up we're liable to be booked for double parking," he said.
"We have decided to take an offer that was put to us with selling up and the cars being based in Tamworth from Saturday week."
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