School buses have never been particularly comfortable, efficient, or hip. So how would Mickey Velilla make the morning commute easier on students? Let them take limos. Velilla is president of Diamond Star Limousine, one of several Tampa Bay-area limo companies that offer transportation for youngsters who need to get to and from school but find public transportation and yellow buses thoroughly distasteful. The trend is blossoming on the Suncoast, but some parents "wonder" if the limos create a status divide and spoil well-off kids. Hmm, seems like a possibility. But Kim Lang, a Tampa mother who owns a candle company and sacrifices work time to transport her children, finds the idea quite sensible. And her kids would love it. "They're really all about pomp and circumstance," she said. "They are all into status." Of course, with limos transitioning from extravagance to everyday, one wonders how students will commute to such soirees as the eighth grade dance, homecoming, or prom--traditional limo haunts, all. Hansom cabs? Luxury rickshaws? Does anyone know the number to Diddy's cell?

"School busing in style," by Ben Montgomery, St. Petersburg Times, July 8, 2006

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