A Transportation Revolution is Coming to West Boca and the World

This post was motivated in part by a conversation the other night with a junior at West Boca High.

Our world has changed dramatically over the last hundred years or so. It’s already visible in West Boca and the changes are accelerating. For one take on all the changes and the coming artificial intelligence revolution see this great blog post on Wait But Why.

Imagine taking a time machine back to 1750 … When you get there, you retrieve a dude, bring him to 2015, and then walk him around and watch him react to everything …

This experience for him wouldn’t be surprising or shocking or even mind-blowing — those words aren’t big enough. He might actually die. …

Because of the Law of Accelerating Returns … the 21st century will achieve 1,000 times the progress of the 20th century. If … correct, then we may be as blown away by 2030 as our 1750 guy was by 2015

One piece of this change has already started happening with Uber and Lyft changing how we get places. Cars that drive themselves are becoming reality. But that’s just the beginning.

There’s a 2016 report from McKinsey on autonomous cars that gives some idea of what’s coming, though it may underestimate the speed of these changes.

Once technological and regulatory issues have been resolved, up to 15 percent of new cars sold in 2030 could be fully autonomous.

Companies like Tesla and Google subsidiary Waymo are pushing hard toward fully autonomous cars. They may only be a few years away. Combine this with the Uber/Lyft ridesharing model as Tesla plans to do, and the cost of a ride drops by 50% or more because you no longer have to pay the driver. There are other potential savings including reduced insurance costs and lower operating costs for electric vehicles.

But that’s only part of the transportation revolution. Along with Tesla, Elon Musk is also pursuing another radical change through tunnels The Boring Company. There are two big ideas in this. For local transport within a metropolitan area they’re pursuing Loop:

Loop is a high-speed underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported on autonomous electric skates traveling at 125-150 miles per hour. Electric skates will carry between 8 and 16 passengers (mass transit), or a single passenger vehicle.

For longer distances such as trips between cities they’re talking about Hyperloop:

Hyperloop is an ultra high-speed underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported on autonomous electric pods traveling at 600+ miles per hour in a pressurized cabin. Similar to Loop, Hyperloop pods will transport between 8 and 16 passengers (mass transit), or a single passenger vehicle.

Musk and his Boring partner Steve Davis discussed what they’re doing in an hour long session this past May:

There’s a good summary of that on GeekWire.

On a local level picture a typical metropolitan area like South Florida with several tunnels. A couple of them run north to south from Miami to Jupiter and several run east to west such as underneath Glades Road in Boca, Atlantic in Delray, and Hillsboro south of the county line. The vast majority of residents live and work within a few miles of a tunnel. You can get where you want to go with a short and inexpensive rideshare from home, a high speed loop ride, and another short walk or rideshare to your destination. You go from your home in West Boca to the American Airlines Arena in 30 minutes for $10. You can go to Mizner Park or the beach in 10 minutes for $6. Add Hyperloop to this story and you get to DisneyWorld or UF in 30 minutes for $25. New York City is a 2 hour ride for maybe $60. If you really get into it SpaceX may deliver travel to anywhere in the world in under an hour.

This may be only 20 years away. Many people will decide not to bother owning a car, saving thousands of dollars a year. This frees up a lot of money for consumer spending in other areas, and it will impact existing industries.

From an investor perspective many car companies and airlines will collapse. BMW and Mercedes sedan sales are already starting to go down due to Tesla’s rise. We already see a lot of this in and near West Boca with a Tesla store in Town Center Mall and a large Tesla charging area at Delray Marketplace.

New Tesla charging station at Delray Marketplace; image from https://www.teslaownersflorida.org/Public-News/6353657

Some car companies will manage to join the electric revolution, but others will fail. Autonomous tractor-trailers like the Tesla Semi could deliver a death blow to conventional truck manufacturers and the rail industry, all while lowering the cost of consumer goods. Car insurance companies will be toast as rideshare companies self-insure. Reduced car accident deaths will increase life expectancy. Miami may become tolerable.

The shift to electric transportation will dramatically reduce demand for oil. According to the US Energy Information Administration 71% of US oil consumption goes to gasoline and diesel for cars, trucks, trains and boats. The price of oil will plummet, taking oil companies down. Millions of jobs in the US will vanish, and the same for millions more overseas.

Some of the effects are harder to see. Parking garages will become unnecessary as riders are dropped off by the rideshare. Plazas like Mizner Park and Promenade could replace their parking structures with apartments or more shops. The parking nightmares at Westwinds and Delray Marketplace would be over.

Individual and family housing decisions might change. Some might choose to live near a tunnel for convenience, but it also becomes easier to live out in the sticks. New homes won’t need garages – though many of us use garages for storage rather than cars.

As these changes take place, capital will be freed up along with consumer dollars that can open up new markets, industries and job creation that are very hard to predict.

How do you think this might play out? Let us know in the comments.

Warren Redlich, the author of this blog, is an investor in Tesla, along with other companies (such as Honda) that might be affected by these projections.

Q & A with Owners of Dynamite Dance, Lisa Bradby-Towers and Alan Towers



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What year did your business start?
We opened our studio, Dynamite Dance, in the Shoppes at Loggers’ Run in West Boca in 2008. We also run a studio in Coral Springs.
What is your background?
We represented Great Britain in Figure Skating from 1985 to 1990. Our highest achievement was a silver medal at the World Professional Championships in 1990. After our competitive career we toured with ice shows all over the world, primarily with the company called Holiday on Ice. We have coached figure skating in the UK, Canada and the U.S. and served on the coaching staff at the Panthers Ice Den in Coral Springs from 2000 to 2014.

How and why did you get into the business?
Lisa has been dancing since the age of five. Her love of dance and music led her into ice dance. When she retired from ice dancing, she decided she wanted to continue working with kids. And she didn’t want to be cold anymore!
What classes do you offer?
Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Contemporary and Acro. We offer the American Ballet National Training Curriculum. We also have programs for dancers as young as 18 months and a competition dance team. See our schedule.

What do you love most about the business?
The flexibility and meeting new people.
What do you think is your biggest challenge with the business?
Getting the word out that we are in the area.
What do you want the community to know about you?
We are a family kid friendly business and we like what we do. We are not a high drama studio of the type typically shown on TV shows. We are professional and courteous!

 

Fidelity Investments Website Problems Today


The Fidelity Investments website was slow and difficult this morning causing problems for a number of traders, including this author. We saw several complaints from others on Twitter.
I had trouble loading various screens including positions and “activity and orders”, as well as placing trades. Fortunately for me I was only placing a few small trade orders that were not critical, and after the delay I experienced the stock I was purchasing was actually at a lower price. Other users may have had more serious problems.

Twitter users complaining including @tigga117, @MJolitz, and @dnleeson.
We attempted to reach Fidelity to express our concerns but were not able to get through, and we see nothing on their Twitter account. Hopefully this is a short term glitch that the company will resolve quickly.

I used two different browsers and this occurred while other websites were working fine for us.

Say No to Johns Glades West – aka Uptown Boca

Update – The new developer is calling it Uptown Boca.

Image of Johns Glades West from zoning application

We took a hard look at the Johns Glades West proposal and we’re opposed. The Palm Beach County Commission approved this on April 26th. It might be too late to do anything about it, but we suggest you contact Commissioner Mary Lou Berger.
You can call her at 561-355-2205, or e-mail her at MBerger@pbcgov.org.
Developers plan to build a very dense project on the south side of Glades Road. The front on Glades would be a fairly large commercial plaza including a grocery store, a theater, restaurants and more.

Here’s the developer’s depiction of what it will look like:

The back part of the project is more disturbing and completely out of character for West Boca. It would include seven five-story buildings with over 450 apartments.

County zoning staff wrongly concluded this fits in with the existing development around it.
“Staff Analysis: The proposed amendment is consistent with the character and development pattern of the surrounding communities, which can be characterized as a built development pattern with higher density and higher intensity.”
This is ridiculous. Yes it’s true that the nearby commercial plazas are similar to the commercial part of the proposal. But neither Westwinds nor Shadowood have housing at all, much less 5-story towers packed with 10 apartments per floor.
Nothing around it would be nearly this dense. Look at this image:

The residential neighborhoods to the north, east, and southwest are far less dense with much more greenery. Same with the Jewish Federation campus to the south. Residents of Palma Vista, to the southwest, have legitimately complained about the R2 building (lower left) which will tower over the homes in the northeast end of their neighborhood.
The developer is seeking 12 residential units per acre for the whole 38 acres of the site, but that the county is ignoring the fact that half of those acres would be used for commercial space. So they’re really getting 24 residential units per acre.
There’s no space for trees, grass, etc., allotting less than two acres for a lake. All those hard surfaces with no green space means big stormwater runoff problems.
The apartment complex will consist of over 450 tiny apartments (we estimate an average size of 800 square feet) with minimal amenities. There isn’t even a pool in the plan.

Reading through the details of the submission (see pdf below) we see numerous agencies referencing their ability to handle the project at 300 residential units, with some saying that density would be a problem and others indicating issues. But the proposal is 450+ units, not just 300.

Johns Glades West

PDF Johns Glades West – Uptown Boca

For one thing, with 300 units it still fails the long range traffic test.

In other words it will create long term traffic problems on Glades Road, Lyons Road, and US-441.
According to the school district it will overcrowd Eagles Landing Middle School, and add a significant burden to both Olympic Heights and Sandpiper Shores. We all know how great the traffic is at Sandpiper Shores already.
Did you realize what the county was allowing to happen? Do you feel that Mary Lou Berger, your representative, communicated sufficiently with you about this?
Before writing this article we reached out to Ms. Berger and Ms. Scarborough. They did not respond.

Sprint Slowly Screws – Updated

Update: It took quite an effort but our problem with Sprint now appears to be resolved. Our account was properly credited for the amount we overpaid, and in our online account our plan looks correct going forward.

Sprint Corporation has gone out of the way to make customers hate them. What follows is a tale of false promises and repeatedly delaying tactics. It is comical that a company named Sprint screws its customers slowly.
It all started a couple years ago when a friend working for Sprint encouraged us to sign up with the company for a business plan. It sounded good and was mostly okay. One issue was the quality of phone service at our home.
We were told Sprint was about to upgrade the nearest tower and all would be just fine. While that upgrade did happen, it took more than a year longer than we were originally told.
As our 2-year contract was coming up, a new Sprint representative contacted us about signing up for a new deal.
She tried to sell us on various plans that would upgrade our phones and, of course, cost us more money. Since we don’t need new phones, our main goal was and is to reduce our monthly cost. She kept sidestepping this and trying to sell us on different plans. But finally she sent the following in an e-mail on October 25th:

Hello Warren,
If you can wait until 11/25/2016 you will be out of contact for 4 lines. In which your plan will drop down to $100 automatically because 4 of the lines instead of paying $35.00 you will then pay $10.00. Until then this is the best plan we have.

While her e-mails were inconsistent and confusing, we understood that each of the four lines coming out of contract would drop $25/month, for a total savings of $100/month ($35/line dropping to $10/line is $25/month per line). This is typical – you get a “free” phone with your plan but the monthly rate is increased by a certain amount per month for two years to pay for the phone.
November 25th came and went. Our bill did not go down. We never heard from her again. She did not respond to follow-up e-mails. We figured it would be corrected on the next bill but it wasn’t.
Since she was not responding, I ended up speaking with another rep on January 6th, and followed up by sending him e-mails. he confirmed that our bill was supposed to drop by $100/month, and that we were due to get a $110 credit ($100 for the current bill and $10 for the three days from the previous bill).
He called me again on the 11th saying that the problem had not been resolved yet but he was working on it. I followed up to document the conversations, but he never responded to any e-mails.
Today I checked my Sprint account online. The latest bill is due in four days and the issue has not been corrected.
So I called Sprint. First I spent about 45 minutes on the phone with “Tyrone.” I have no idea why this simple issue would take so long but I kept waiting and waiting. He kept telling me he was taking care of it, and then that he had to clear it with a supervisor. Then he told me his supervisor set it to credit our account on the next bill.
“Why not on the current bill?”
Of course Tyrone had no answer to this question. Finally I’d had enough and asked to speak to a supervisor. After another substantial delay “Archie” came on the phone.
This is where it really starts to go downhill. Archie now tells me that my monthly rate is not supposed to drop by $25/month for each line out of contract. He doesn’t know why previous reps told me that. He does not have access to the e-mails between myself, Ms. Soto and Mr. Addison (even though Tyrone spent 45 minutes or so working on this and told me did see the e-mails). When I asked Archie for his last name he refused to tell me.
After multiple phone calls with four different employees of Sprint, I realized that they are never going to give me a straight answer and they’re not going to honor any promises they make. I told Archie that we’re not going to pay this bill. We are going to shop for new phone service with a different company (which will probably screw us just as badly when they get the chance).
I told Archie they had 24 hours to get this straight and hung up. My phone showed I had been on the phone with them for over an hour, all to resolve what should be a very simple issue following what previous Sprint reps had told me would be done.
The conversation was about an hour ago. After I started writing this I ran an errand and came back to finish the article. My Sprint account now shows two credits totaling $95 (not the $110 I was promised). The monthly rate does not appear to have changed.

It also indicates “new activity will be displayed in 15 minutes.” It is possible that more credits might appear, and/or that the plan rates might be fixed. But this was a very unpleasant experience. There is no conceivable reason for Sprint to take this long to resolve an issue and to refuse to give straight answers or honor their promises.
This does not bode well for the company either. The current market cap is $34 Billion with the stock trading around $8.50/share. If the company is this poorly run, expect the stock to fall.
This author does not own stock in Sprint, nor in any of its competitors.

50 FBI Agents Raid Wimbledon Health on Palmetto

wimbledon-health-raid
Readers reported a raid this morning by the FBI (and/or a SWAT team) and one reader sent us the above photo. Multiple sources tell us the raid took place at the office of Wimbledon Health Partners, a company that does diagnostic testing of student athletes.
Our first tip came from a very reliable source:

Wimbledon Health [at] 7000 West Palmetto Park Road, Suite 205 was just raided. Looks like Wolf of Wall Street here. At least 50 FBI agents.

I spoke briefly with the company’s Chief Legal Counsel, Robert Grabemann, who works out of Chicago. He politely declined to answer any questions about the incident. He would not even admit or deny that anything took place (and I specifically asked that). The Miami FBI office has so far not responded to our inquiries and the Washington office told us we probably won’t get a response from them.
Readers were unsure what the company does. Their website says:

Wimbledon Health Partners has provided cardiovascular testing to over 151 schools nationwide to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest in student athletes—nearly 20,500 students tested, and counting!

Mitchell Rubin is listed on the company website as Founder and CEO. It is a common name but a “Mitchell Rubin” was named in an article about a lawsuit in Chicago involving Veridian Health.
The building is on the southwest corner of Palmetto Park Road and Powerline, near Olive Garden and McDonald’s. The same building has had some notoriety in the past for activities at a currently defunct nightclub including shootings. It otherwise seems to be a normal and even upscale office building.
Update from one source:

There was no SWAT team – just regular FBI agents and analysts to go through the computers and files in the office.
The reason you see FBI members on multiple floors in the picture sent in is because Wimbledon Health has offices on 2 floors.
The reason they had that amount of FBI agents was solely because of the number of employees. They needed to be able to assure no one destroyed files during the raid and the manage that many individuals needs a manageable ratio of employee to FBI agent.
To my knowledge, no one was arrested at the scene. There were a number of people questioned then let go. All that was seized were computers and files. The owner Mitchell Rubin was not present at the time of the FBI raid. His car was not in his reserved parking spot all day.

Second update: WPTV reports that this was a search warrant related to possible healthcare fraud. “Rubin says he is not aware of any allegations regarding healthcare fraud.”
Third update: We found a Complaint from a federal civil lawsuit in Chicago that appears to be against a “Mitchell E. Rubin”. We can’t confirm it’s the same guy.
[gview file=”http://westbocanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/rubin-fraud-chicago.pdf”]

Huge Project Proposed for Glades Road

johns-glades-1024
Residents of Palma Vista are concerned about a project proposed for the south side of Glades Road between Home Depot and 95th Avenue. This would be across from the Glades Road library.

Johns Glades West parcel in red near Home Depot and Library. Satellite image and data by Google.
Johns Glades West parcel in red near Home Depot and Library. Satellite image and data by Google.

The proposal, called Johns Glades West (or Johns Glade West) calls for:

  • 169,000 square feet of commercial space with restaurants, a theater, retail and a grocery store
  • A 133,000 square foot parking garage for the stores
  • 7 residential buildings, 5 stories each, with a total of 456 units and a clubhouse all totaling 650,000 square feet of residential space
  • A 112,000 square foot parking garage for the residences
  • A total of approximately 2000 parking spaces

It is our understanding that the developers will make a presentation to the Palma Vista Homeowners Association on November 21st at 7 pm. Some homeowners have expressed concern insufficient notice and about having “5 story buildings looking down on our single family homes.”
This would seem to be a very intensive use of the property with major traffic impacts on Glades Road. Our best guess is that the developer is floating a plan it knows will never get approved and they’ll come in later with a real plan for something much less.
Below is a close-up of the stores section of the plan.
johns-glades-west-stores
And next the homes section:
johns-glades-west-homes
PDF of the project plan is below:
[gview file=”http://westbocanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Johns-Glades-West_PSP.1.pdf”]

Q & A with Pat Quinn, Managing Director of Field Operations for Rat Busters

img_00271

  1. What year did your business start?

We started the company in 2015.

  1. How and why did you get into the business?

After 9 years working for Pest Control companies throughout South Florida my partners and I had a discussion about the huge need for an animal removal company. We noticed that there was a high demand from Florida residents looking for a nuisance wildlife removal business to be managed professionally and ethically and at the same time, whose fees for services are reasonable and fairly priced for all parties involved. There are too many animal removal businesses out there who are simply try to gouge the customer with ridiculously high prices, even though they provide sub-par work and lousy guarantees. The demand for rat removal, raccoon removal and other critters is so high and the people have very few reliable and professional options. From that initial conversation, and many more that followed, the idea for Rat Busters was born.

  1. What is your education/training background?

With over 9 years of experience in the pest control field I initially began as an apprentice to many highly trained Pest Control Des Moines experts. The experience I gained was invaluable! Of course, eventually I became licensed by the State, during this process it was required that I demonstrate my knowledge of the rules, regulations, and best practices for success in this industry. From there I earned the opportunity to conduct my own route with my previous employers. In a constant effort to expand my skills and expertise I now hold a “Commercial Wildlife Management Certification” through the State of Florida, which is required by law to deal with rodents in, on, or around any structure or building in the state.
4. What services do you provide?
In a nutshell we provide animal removal services, as well as, animal exclusion and prevention services.
To be more precise we remove 4 legged critters and birds from people’s homes, businesses and yards.
Our most common requests for help is with rats and mice. In those situations we first need to trap and remove all of the rodents who have found their way inside. The second step is to permanently seal up the entry points where the rodents are gaining access to the home or business so that no new vermin can ever enter again! Only AFTER the building is sealed do we then suggest the third step which is to place exterior bait stations that work 24/7 to terminate any rodents that do come into the area in the future.
We also get a lot of calls for other animal removal cases where bigger critters have found their way into attics, pool areas and yards. Topping the list in these cases are raccoons, opossums, iguanas, squirrels, coyotes, foxes, pigeons, and Muscovy ducks. Pretty much ANY animal that can cause a nuisance, we have humanely caught and removed.
5. What hours are you available?
We are available and on call 24 hours a day for emergencies!
6. Are you involved with any community groups?
We are proud members of the local BNI Ignite Chapter of Business Network International, Florida Atlantic Alumni Association, Boca Jets Lacrosse, & City of Boca Raton Athletics (COBRA) Softball League.
7. What do you love most about the business?
It is an extremely rewarding feeling to know that we get to help people solve the problems that they are having with wildlife. Whenever possible we will relocate the animals to a more suitable environment, which overall is a win/win experience for both the humans and critters who find themselves involved in conflict.
8. What do you think is your biggest challenge with the business?
I can think of 2 challenges for the people we provide services for that end up costing them way more money than they should ever have to spend.
The first one is that some people will wait until the problem is way out of control, with a massive infestation, before they actually call us. In that situation there is always more damage from rats chewing things up and contaminating the space with droppings and urine. The bigger the infestation – the higher the cost will be for the homeowner to solve the problem.
The second challenge is when people call their regular “bug exterminator” to deal with rodents. Countless times we come into a circumstance that was handled incorrectly by using rat baits and poisons on the exterior before the house is sealed or, believe it or not, the homeowner or unqualified exterminator actually places rat poison inside the home! This is always a bad idea because the rats can die inside your walls and the stench of decomposition is unbelievable. If the rats die in an inaccessible area the only way to solve the problem is to cut into the drywall and the job becomes much more expensive for the homeowner. Worst of all, even if it kills the rats and they don’t die in an unreachable spot, more rodents will enter because the home is not sealed off properly. It will become a never ending cycle if the job is not done correctly.
9. What do you want the community to know about you?
We care about wildlife and we care about you. Our goal is to provide exceptional service with the utmost of professionalism, integrity and honesty. We do what we say we will do, we show up when we say we will, and what we do works so efficiently that we stand behind our work with a LIFETIME GUARANTEE! We are fully licensed and insured for your protection. We strive to make sure that whenever you hear a friend or neighbor asking who they should call when having animal control problems, that your answer, without hesitation, will instantly be RAT BUSTERS!

The Spittle in Spirit Airlines

Update (October 2016): I just purchased a round trip to NYC for $92.

sorry
As both a passenger and investor I find Spirit Airlines to be compelling and frustrating. On the positive side I am amazed that I can now day trip from South Florida to New York City for less than $200. Spirit has 4 nonstop flights each way from Fort Lauderdale to LaGuardia and another 4 each way to Newark.
I have taken day trips to NYC for afternoon business meetings and also done a couple all-nighters when I had morning meetings. If you do it right, you can save a huge amount of money. Today I was looking at a round trip for about $166 including everything.
As an investor, the company is trading at a low price-earnings ratio of less than 9. While they have substantial debt their debt-equity ratio is about half the industry average. It is considered an “ultra low cost carrier” (ULCC) – their operating structure allows them to keep their costs very low compared to others. That makes them very competitive on price and also profitable. With all that the business should grow and perform well.
The planes are also the newest of any airline and that makes them safer, cleaner and more efficient.
With that said the negatives are huge. Spirit is the most unpleasant airline I have ever flown. The seats are so uncomfortable my butt hurt after my first flight. I bought a seat cushion just for Spirit. It is arguably more pleasant to ride the subway in New York.
Spirit works well if you play the game. There are many extra fees if you’re not careful. Keys to saving money: Book online, travel very light (only one small bag), and take whatever seat they give you. There’s no free food or beverages on the flight but the prices are cheaper than what you’ll pay in the airport. You can’t bring any drinks with you through TSA but you can bring a sandwich or other food if you want to save a little more. Or just don’t eat. There’s no WiFi on the plane either.
Customer service is highly variable. So far on every flight the pilot and flight attendants have been excellent.
The ground crew and phone staff have been the opposite. The airline seems to have made a deliberate decision to hire people who speak English poorly with strong accents and put them in charge of the microphones. On one occasion I was waiting for my flight and there was a series of announcements I did not understand. An older gentleman sitting near me was swearing up and down how he couldn’t get a word. I wasn’t doing much better.
All of a sudden a bunch of people left the gate area. We didn’t know why. It later turned out that the flight before us had been moved to another gate. People missed that flight because the communication was so poor. It was the last flight of the day to that city.
And that leads to my most recent experience. On another trip I was bumped from my flight and was told I’d get a free voucher for a future round-trip. The deadline to use the voucher was short and I just booked a flight for December. It turns out that the “voucher” was misleading. This is what it said:

Please Accept This Voucher for the Inconvenience
Hi WARREN. We’re really sorry that we couldn’t get you on your flight. We care about your satisfaction and want to make this right.
Please accept our apologies along with this voucher for future travel to any of our destinations.

You may use your voucher by calling Reservations at 1.801.401.2222, Option 3. Provide your information at each of the prompts and tell the representative that you are redeeming the voucher.

It was accompanied by some fine print including what the voucher doesn’t cover:


*The voucher expiration date cannot be extended or changed and does not cover taxes and optional services.
*The voucher is applicable to the flight-only portion of the base fare and cannot be redeemed for bags and other optional services.

*Vouchers cannot be applied to the following government taxes, fees and carrier optional services: (a) a segment tax of $4.00 per U.S. domestic flight segments (a flight segment is defined as one takeoff and landing) of a Customer’s itinerary; (b) up to $18.00 for local airport passenger facility charges (c) a September 11th Security Fee of $5.60 per enplanement originating at a U.S. airport; (d) a Passenger Usage Fee of up to $17.99 per one way travel per traveling customer applies to most reservations excluding bookings completed at Spirit Airlines’ airport locations as well as certain bookings to or from Colombia. A lower fee of $8.99 may apply to certain discount fares. …

So I called today to book a flight. If I was booking online without the voucher it would have cost the $166 I mentioned above:
spirit-price
When I was booking I was told I would have to pay $100 to cover everything not included with the voucher. I asked for a breakdown of the $100 and never got a clear answer. The rep I dealt with had a strong accent and spoke too fast (and I’m a New Yorker). She eventually waived the $25 fee for booking over the phone.

They required me to use the voucher over the phone and tried to bill me $25 for booking by phone.

Ultimately it cost me $75 to book my “free” flight. Notice from the image above that the online breakdown only shows the government’s cut at $35. I genuinely believe Spirit just screwed me on that extra $40. That could lead to class action lawsuit against Spirit so as a shareholder I hope they’ll be more careful about this in the future.
Despite my complaints, I will keep flying Spirit, hold my stock and possibly buy more. The business model is compelling to me as both a passenger and investor. At the same time I worry that most passengers will not be willing to put up with all the hassles.
What do our readers think? Let us know in the comments here or on our Facebook post.

Q & A with T.Q., Owner of Hair Therapy Concept

tqstyling
What year did your business start?
I opened the salon in July 19, 2015.
Where are you located?
Hair Therapy Concept is located at 19585 State Road 7 in the Boca Greens Plaza next to Stella’s Pizzeria and KPB Pharmacy.

How and why did you get into the business?
All my life, I never had a professional haircut. My father cut my hair but it was like a bowl hair cut so I decided at the age of 13 to cut my own hair. During high school I mastered cutting my own hair and then I started to cut all my friends’ hair. My name started getting around the school that I only charged $5 for a hair cut. I only did hair cuts from spring to fall because I lived in Boston and it was too cold outside. There were days when I did 10 haircuts but forgot to eat or drink. I never felt tired or bored.
After high school, I went straight to cosmetology school. I knew this would be my hobby and something that I could do and love for a long period. I thought I would just figure out what I wanted to do in life but I found everything else boring. Since I already knew how to do a man’s hair cut, I decided to go to school to learn more about womens’ hair cuts.
What is your educational background and how were you trained?
I finished school and got my cosmetology license. I began working for 6 different salons including JC Penney. It was exciting but overwhelming when I got my own chair. I built up a clientele but I felt there was something missing so I decided to look for a job with one of the best salons in Bosoton. I got a job at Avanti, a high end salon and was trained on hair cutting, blow drying, color application and styling hair.
I met my most powerful teacher at Avanti. Ines taught me a new amazing technique called dry cutting. When she saw I was talented, she offered me a job under her in a new salon. I also traveled to Vietnam to train under the most well-known stylist in the city. I worked for Ines and Cruz at Debu Salon and Day Spa for 2 years before I decided to open my own salon. While I owned Europa, I won #1 and #2 two at the Worcester Hair competition two years in a row. I decided to move to Florida shortly after.
Are you known for anything special?
People know me for my cut/color and my specialty, dry hair cutting. When you cut hair dry, you can see the way the hair grows, the weight in the layer and the way the hair falls. You can cut out the most split ends.
What services do you offer?
Hair cuts, blow drys and styling, coloring, chemical treatments and waxing. We offer hair cuts to men, women and children.
What hours are you open?
We are open from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Do you support any community groups?
We don’t support any specific organization but we give free services to people who are involved in non-profit work and help all charities.
What do you love most about the business?
I love to make people feel great about themselves. I believe when you look pretty or handsome, you have unlimited confidence. I think confidence is very important in everyone’s life. I love to educate my clients about their own hair; what type they have, what I can do with it, the best way to wear it and how to handle their hair on a daily basis. Not every hair cut is for everyone and not every color looks good on everyone. I love the creative, trendy life styles and it makes me very happy when I see my client dancing their way out of my salon.
What do your think is your biggest challenge with the business?
Communication! When it comes to hair, it has its own language. People have their own language and own understanding. If you are not clear what the customer really wants, you will be wrong. For example, if someone says “I want a lot of layer around my face to me it meant that they only want angles around the face, not layer.  Sometimes the customer says I want my hair red but not too red, I like it light but not too light. So you have to really try to understand or show them the exact shade of color by picture.
Managing the client’s expectations is a challenge. A customer may bring a picture of a person with hair they like but that person has a totally different type of hair. You have to be honest that not everyone can have what they want or that the style is not good for the health of their hair. If you don’t understand a client they sometimes get frustrated. If we can’t communicate, I may ask them to come back another day. But I would rather have no business than bad business.
What do you want the community to know about you?
I want the community to know that we are honest, fun, friendly, talented and creative stylists. Our goal and mission is to help anyone to feel the best about their hair style and color.
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