TLPA Show Tackles Rogue Apps, Limo And Taxi Challenges

Posted on November 26, 2013

BOSTON — The 95th annual convention and trade show of the Taxicab Limousine & Paratransit Association coincided with the excitement of Baseball World Series, enhancing the gathering of for-hire fleet owners in the transportation industry. 

With more than 900 transportation industry leaders from across America and around the globe in attendance, (making this TLPA’s largest meeting held outside of Las Vegas), this year’s conference featured 27 educational sessions on topics affecting the industry, a trade show with 106 vendors, the election of TLPA President Robert M. Werth and new members of the association Board of Directors for 2013-2014, and a tour hosted by Boston Cab Dispatch and EJT Management.

On Sunday, Oct. 27, pre-convention activities began with an intense rogue app seminar featuring attorneys, public relations professionals and operators who battled rogue apps sharing what strategies have worked well and not so well in countering the media, legal, regulatory, and political onslaught brought on by the rogue app companies.

The next morning, the convention opened with an operator tour hosted by Boston Cab Dispatch and EJT Management that drew more than 250 attendees. The educational segment of the convention opened with roundtable discussions which covered 16 topics, including these most popular ones: How Did You Decide to Buy or Build Your App?; Social Media: What Types of Postings Work and Don’t Work?; What’s in Vehicles — MDTs, PIMS, Cameras, Credit Card?;’ How Are You Marketing Your Own App?; What Do You Do to Enhance Customer Service Orientation?; and What’s at the Office — Dispatch, Cashiering, Maintenance?

The opening general session on Oct. 28 featured the convention welcome by TLPA President William “Bill” Rouse followed by the keynote address by Dr. Gary Bradt, an expert in helping his clients turn change and tough times into opportunity. Bradt titled his presentation, Change Happens — Adapt, Ignite & Win! Following Bradt, Matthew Daus, President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators, provided an overview of IATR activities in 2013 and told TLPA members about the new model regulations recently adopted by IATR relating to rogue app operators.

The second day of the convention brought more education with eight breakout sessions. The most popular of these panel discussions were Rouge Apps Use of Social Media & Petitions to Influence Politicians; Key Findings of TLPA’s Rogue App Seminar; and How You Can Adapt, Ignite & Win conducted by Bradt. The convention’s second general
session featured Rouse’s State of the Industry and State of TLPA Address. In his introduction of Rouse, TLPA CEO Al LaGasse praised Bill’s commitment, tenacity, and ability to always be positive and upbeat in the face of any challenge. He noted Bill’s boundless energy, stating that Bill was by far the most traveled TLPA President in its history. Rouse’s presentation featured TLPA’s yearlong legal, legislative and public relations battles with rogue apps.

“Year in and year out, TLPA does an amazing job of juggling and keeping all the balls in the air,” Rouse said. “This past year has been no exception, but this year has been more challenging. One issue, apps, has been almost all-consuming, so it seems right to start there.” He then outlined TLPA’s four-pronged strategy to counter the rise of rogue apps, which included:

  • Educate members about the importance of the issue and the need for the industry to adopt mobile technology in their businesses, and how to meet the competitive threat head on;
  • Engage in a public relations campaign designed to bring balance to reporting and present our positions in a positive light;
  • Press for regulations that are based on fact, and work to adequately protect the public and create a level and fair business environment;
  • Provide support to TLPA members who are engaged in litigation.

The second general session continued with TLPA legislative counsel Kenneth Butler and Paul Miller reviewing the challenges TLPA members face and the goals TLPA has set in the reauthorization of the federal transportation bill. They also discussed the latest on a rogue app operator lobbying Congress. Rouse ended the session by presenting the 2013 Taxicab Large Fleet Operator of the Year Award to Judy Swystun, President of Hampton Roads Transportation, Inc., Norfolk, VA. 

The third and final day of the convention included the presentation of the TLPA Outstanding Industry Service Award posthumously to James Steele, a long-time taxicab executive with Yellow Cab Cooperative, Inc., San Francisco. During the annual Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Foundation Business Meeting, TLPF President Lee Barnes highlighted the Foundation’s 2013 activities, featuring the two of its major projects, the Transportation On Patrol (TOP) program and the Industry History Project. He discussed how the Foundation was funded, noting the success of the TLPF-Atlas Financial Holdings Bowling Tournament which netted about $15,000 for the Foundation. Barnes also announced that Rick Hewatt would be the new TLPF President in 2014.

The Annual TLPA Business Meeting featured the election of TLPA Officers and Directors including: President Robert Werth and President-Elect Mike Fogarty of Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services in Boston. The closing general session ended with Robert “Robbie” M. Werth, President of Diamond Transportation Services, Springfield, Va., accepting the office of TLPA President. He spoke of his career path from a middle school teacher to a minor league baseball executive, to getting involved in the transportation business specializing in transporting people with disabilities. Looking ahead, Werth laid out priorities for his term in office including: continuing the battle against rouge app operators, enhancing customer service, dealing with the healthcare mandate, positioning TLPA in the next transportation reauthorization bill, and reenergizing the TLPA driver education program.

The TLPA 95th Annual Convention & Trade Show concluded with the closing banquet including a cocktail reception, a silent auction to benefit the TLPA Action Fund, and dinner and entertainment by “The 3 Painters.” The prestigious TLPA Operator of the Year Awards went to:

  • Bud Williams, vice president and partner of Wheelchair Transport Service, Clearwater, Fla., (2013 TLPA Paratransit Operator of the Year)
  • Barry Beall, President of First Class Executive Limo, Phoenix, Ariz., (2013 TLPA Limousine Operator of the Year). [Beall also won a 2013 LCT Operator of the Year Award at the International LCT Show in Las Vegas in February].
  • Brock Rosayn, President of Metro Taxi of Palm Beach County, Delray Beach, Fla., (2013 Taxicab Small Fleet Operator of the Year)

In 2014, TLPA’s 96th Annual Convention & Trade Show will be held Wednesday, Oct. 15-19, 2014, at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio & Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas. Information:

Related Topics: Barry Beall, limo tradeshows, Matt Daus, Michael Fogarty, mobile applications, paratransit vehicles, Taxi Limousine Paratransit & Association, taxis, vehicle apps

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories