Like most people I'm sure you enjoy a bargain. In these hard times even the well to due are clamping down on their wallets and car service.

The subject here is, when to clamp down and when not to when hiring car services/taxis? Think about these questions then apply the answers to hiring vehicles that can create dozens of hidden dangers.

Would you look for the cheapest doctor around for open-heart surgery or would you want the best that you can find?

How often do we ask the EMT that arrives at a Limousine car crash how much is this going to cost me to be treated today when you get me to the hospital? Can you take me to the cheaper hospital instead of the award-winning mega trauma center that can save my life?

It seems that as I look around, I see people all over supporting transportation providers that are cheap but the condition of their vehicles could lead you to a ride with the EMT.

Everyday, I see a group of guys hanging around the Short Hills Train station with Limousine tags on their vehicles. No company identification on their vehicles. These vehicles are as old as 1998 in body-style driven by people who call themselves limousine services. Or Limousine and Taxi services to blur the lines of what is right and wrong in the eyes of the law.

Why should you care about this? The answer is simple. Your safety on our streets! Not to mention the reputation of our community for supporting such operators. Example: Do we want streetwalkers hanging out at the Short Hills Train station next, waiting around in these cars? Shady business in Millburn needs to be watched the same as we care about drugs in Millburn High School.

Your kids can jump in one of these cars too at anytime! Is the chauffeur of the unknown service going to say no when your kid offers a fifty dollar bill to go someplace you don't want them to?

These cars are supposed to be inspected and permitted by the Township of Millburn. Each driver is supposed to have a chauffeur permit; that means they have been through a statewide criminal background check and finger printed. Again this is done town by town. The vehicle should be inspected as well for safety. A first aid kit and a fire extinguisher are required in each vehicle.

The state of New Jersey requires a $1.5 million dollar liability policy on each Limousine vehicle. However there are different insurance requirements if the vehicle is a taxi.

Depending on the use of the vehicle at the time you're riding in it, you may be in a taxi charging services like a Limousine or the other way around. If you're injured in one of these older less-maintained vehicles, you could have an insurance adjuster have issues with the claim. Worse yet, you're now suing an operation that was running those old cars because it could not afford to update its fleet and run the fleet according to the letter of the law. In short, you cannot sue blood out of a stone, but don't forget you saved $10 or $20 bucks for that cheap ride in Short Hills! Was this worth it?

What is a Taxi?

A Taxi is a ride service provided on demand. Anyone can walk up to a taxi get in and ask to be taken any place they want. They can charge less because taxis work on volume and are allowed to run without being pre-arranged. Thus, less control on the service and your safety.

What is a Limousine?

A limousine is a pre-arranged ride with a service that provides new, up-to-date vehicles, often-higher insurance levels and well-attired professional chauffeurs that will assist you with every need you may have. This includes helping with luggage, creating special birthdays, and enhancing your work production time, for starters.

There is a huge difference in what you buy; the extra dollars you spend are an investment in your safety and the future of your community. Is that not worth a few extra dollars in the end?

The Millburn Police Department is responsible for licensing our local operators in the town. There are only three of us properly licensed in Millburn at this time.

In the interest of transparency, I must disclose I am one of them.

However, we have had many more feeding on the name of our community without regard to the people who live here and their safety by offering below-market rates. These operators are cutting their costs on insurance and vehicle safety to offer the lower rate.  The result of this I have already pointed out above.

If you wish to know who is supporting your community with Millburn/Short Hills-based services that have been licensed, businesses who have conducted background checks on their drivers, or to know if your Chauffeur has undergone a criminal check, contact Detective Bill Pollock at the Millburn Police Department. Detective Pollock is in charge of overseeing the vehicles for hire in the Township.

I encourage the public to support local business and to research local reputable companies though local authorities in their communities. Please do not allow questionable services to ride our streets.