WELCOME TO THE NEW ROARING 20s
THE DIVERSIFICATION DECADE
Entering 2020 with A Clear Vision How to Protect NEMT TTA’s 2019 Annual Report
1 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
2 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
Table of Contents
Transportation Leader The Transportation Alliance President Tom Arrighi A & A Metro Transportation Publisher Alfred LaGasse Editor John Boit Contributing Writers John Boit Wim Faber Joseph M. Rubino Dave Sutton Neil Weiss Rachel Wells Graphic Designer Bridget Ann Peery The Transportation Alliance Staff Chief Executive Officer Alfred LaGasse Executive Vice President John Boit Director of Marketing & Member Services Michael Nellenbach Member Services Coordinator Diane Kleinguenther
Winter 2020, Vol. 32, No. 1
A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER
Happy New Year! The start of a new year is a time for change … and 2020 is no different. In fact, you are experiencing something new right now: Welcome to the first digital edition of our flagship publication, Transportation Leader. After careful consideration and deliberation with association leadership, we decided it was time to expand our quarterly magazine’s reach from 6,000 print subscribers to over 20,000 sets of eyes through our followers on social media. Each issue will now be available online. The fall issue will also be printed and mailed to all of the members of our association.
Alfred LaGasse Publisher
As the association continues to be the leading voice in the transportation industry—from legislative accomplishments and educational offerings to innovative thought leadership and networking opportunities—it is important we broaden our audience to reflect the growing opportunities within our industry. In this issue, you will get a taste of what it is like to be a member of The Transportation Alliance. There is a summary of our legislative accomplishments from the past year, an annual report outlining the association’s growth and achievements in 2019, a look at opportunities in the coming year under our new president, and insights into how some of our operator members have diversified their lines of business. And, of course, you will find an application to join us if you are not already a member. While Transportation Leader will continue to cover the top transportation stories and share with you the latest strategies to strengthen and expand your business, the true benefit of The Transportation Alliance is access to the community of transportation executives and leading industry vendors made possible through membership. With that, I welcome all members and nonmembers into the insights and accomplishments of The Transportation Alliance. I hope you enjoy this edition of Transportation Leader. Alfred LaGasse
Table of Contents
Transportation Leader is published quarterly by The Transportation Alliance (TTA), the trade association representing owners and managers of limousine, executive sedan, taxicab, airport shuttle, paratransit, and non-emergency medical transportation fleets. Articles may be copied or reprinted only with the written consent of TTA. Send address changes and all communications to Transportation Leader, 3200 Tower Oaks Boulevard, Suite 220, Rockville, MD, 20852 USA; P: (301) 984-5700; F: (301) 984-5703. Contact the editor for advertising inquiries. Transportation Leader welcomes submissions relating to the for-hire ground transportation industry. Address query letters and submissions to the editor. TTA’s e‑mail address is email@example.com and the website address is www.thetransportationalliance.org. Transportation Leader and TTA take no responsibility for the opinions expressed by writers, and those opinions do not necessarily represent the association’s opinions or policy.
©2020 The Transportation Alliance
Snapshot. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Legislative Update. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Immediate Response & Taxi: Protests and Solutions:
Lessons from Germany. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Luxury & Charter: Entering 2020 with a Clear Vision. . . . . . . . . 8 Spring Conference Preview. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 TTA 2019 Annual Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 TTA’s Executive of the Year…. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 NEMT & Paratransit: Position Your Company for Local
Opportunities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Public Relations: Are You PR Ready to Protect NEMT?. . . . . . . . . . 26 Annual Convention Recap in Photos…. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 3 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
Snapshot Save the Date! Spring Conference & Expo 18-20 Westin Copley, Boston, MA
FOLLOW US AT: FACEBOOK: Facebook.com/TranspoAlliance TWITTER: @TranspoAlliance WEB: TheTransportationAlliance.org LINKEDIN: The Transportation Alliance
Visit us in Boston for our Spring Conference & Expo Focused on NEMT and Contracting!
Nominations are due for Spring Conference & Expo Awards
I started attending conferences with the TLPA and now TTA since the mid-90s. We have gained so much knowledge from the educational sessions and networking that it has allowed us to diversify our company with new revenue sources and fresh ideas to build our fleet with shuttle buses, NEMT work, school transportation and much more. Thank you TTA!!
- Judy Potter, Owner
Black & White Transportation
Download Your Free Membership Videos! The Transportation Alliance debuted a huge, brand new membership benefit. In cooperation with of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Foundation (TLPF), TTA members can download our free driver recruitment videos and toolktit! Find these in the Resource Center (member login required).
4 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
Opportunities and Threats from Washington in 2020
By Paul Miller, TTA Legislative Counsel
here is no doubt this will be a year for the political record books. The impeachment trial that is now underway and the 2020 elections will dominate the agenda and the 24-hour news cycle. And yet, at the same time, this year presents our industry with major opportunities on core issues critical to our members, including non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) and fingerprint-based background checks. Legislatively, there are tremendous opportunities as well as dangerous threats on the near horizon for the transportation industry. Members of The Transportation Alliance (TTA) are kept abreast of the details of all such circumstances through our Legislative Alerts and monthly Transportation Insights newsletter. This article provides a general overview of the legislative landscape. Any fleet company owner who wants to know more should be sure to become a member of TTA to receive full access to our legislative intelligence. Let’s start with a look back at the year: In 2019, TTA became increasingly concerned at a movement afoot that would have allowed states to opt out of providing NEMT service to certain Medicaid recipients. TTA leadership and association members from across the country worked diligently to protect this life-saving service provided by many members to millions of low-income Americans. Our members made this a focus of our annual Capitol Hill Legislative Fly-In and wrote letters to elected officials. Our newly installed president, Tom Arrighi made a strategic visit himself to numerous key Congressional members toward the end of the year. By the end of 2019, we were able to have language included in the FY’20 budget bill preventing the Administration from promulgating a rule allowing states to opt out of NEMT services (our members received a special TTA Legislative Alert with the details of this on December 23, 2019). Then, in early January, Congress held a hearing that discussed a bill that would make providing NEMT services to Medicaid recipients permanent through statute. This was an especially welcome start to the year, and sets the stage for that discussion to become an important one in 2020. However, NEMT is far from permanently protected. The
threat is real to its funding. Anyone in this industry providing NEMT services should be hyper aware of this threat. Getting involved starts with staying informed on this critical issue. Of course, NEMT has not been the only high priority for TTA. We have continued to push for greater passenger safety through the fingerprinting and drug testing for drivers affiliated with any private company receiving federal grants or contracts for the provision of passenger ground transportation. Congress is taking more interest in this issue, as evidenced by the October 2019 hearing on the safety records of Uber and Lyft. While TTA testified for more than two hours in that hearing, Uber and Lyft failed to attend. Members of Congress are becoming increasingly frustrated at the unwillingness of Uber and Lyft to be more forthcoming on key issues such as this, especially after Uber’s damning report that revealed nearly 6,000 sexual assaults in its vehicles in 2017-2018. We continue to build on the October 2019 hearing and these companies’ glaring safety failures, making repeated rounds on Capitol Hill and pointing out violent incidents in members’ own districts. Other issues TTA will be tracking in 2020: • A possible release of a request for proposals (RFP) by the General Services Administration for transportation contracts in 50 U.S. cities. After an initial review, TTA was successful in amplifying numerous concerns over safety gaps contained within the original draft RFP, but this fight is not over. • Legislation in response to the horrible limousine crash in New York in 2018. • Several possible pieces of legislation that may address the independent contractor versus employee status, an issue of extreme interest to many transportation companies. As you can see, TTA was very busy in 2019. We expect to be even busier in 2020. We see opportunity for TTA and its members in the year ahead. We must continue to be aggressive, vocal, and engaged. Together, we can move forward as THE voice of professionalism and safety, and make very real and meaningful progress in the year ahead. 5 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
Immediate Response & Taxi
Focusing on Germany: Protests and Solutions Large environmental footpronts and disregard for regulation make TNCs unpopular in Europe By Wim Faber
his time of year is generally one of reflection. And taking stock. This time I decided to focus on one country in particular. Despite its size and economic importance, it is not often in the mobility journalist’s limelight. The well-organized taxi market in Germany has been in turmoil this year, after the federal authorities started proposing changes to the country’s tightly regulated mobility sector. With fixed official fares, an obligatory-service provision and consumer protection (no refusals) in the taxi sector hewn in stone, TNC lobbyists focused on private hire—the more loosely organized “Mietwagen”—and started chiseling away at the for-hire vehicles’ (FHVs’) obligation to return to base before a new trip could be booked. In Germany, FHVs can only receive trips which have been received by their base, and only after the vehicles have returned to their operational HQ.
Another reason I am focusing on Germany is that at the beginning of December, a good friend and visionary entrepreneur, Dirk Schütte, CEO of Hamburg’s HansaFunk taxi company, suddenly died at the age of 67. To me, he epitomized the German taxi trade’s fight against illegal new mobility
A myriad of new mobility systems—often funded by one of Germany’s automotive companies (like Free Now—formerly myTaxi—by BMW and Daimler) are crowding Hamburg’s streets.
“Only now is the environmental cost of Uber becoming clear,” says T&E in the first European assessment of TNC’s vast emissions impact. Photo courtesy of Transport & Environment.
Hamburg: A new approach The proposed loosening of the rules to make FHV more like taxis resulted in a wave of intense lobbying efforts and massive demonstrations by the taxi trade all over the country in 2019. The result was almost immediate: no changes for the foreseeable future. The (united) taxi industry successfully pointed at its valuable contribution to the national economy and the reliable, well-regulated and well-regarded service Germany’s ivory-colored taxis provide. 6 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
systems. In his home town of Hamburg, Schütte not only endured the arrival of one TNC after the other, but also a myriad of similar “experimental” new mobility systems—mostly funded by one of Germany’s automotive companies (like Free Now— formerly myTaxi—by BMW and Daimler)—crowding the city’s streets. As his taxi company had difficulty in meeting demand, Schütte tirelessly worked at uniting the local taxi industry (3,144 taxis in total, 2,136 companies and 3,300 drivers) by merging four taxi companies—almost doubling the size of his company to 1,400 taxis, improving the service of the separate companies whilst keeping their own identity, making Schütte a sizeable (and knowledgeable) partner for local authorities. Whether Schütte’s size-approach will matter remains to be seen in a few years’ time. In fact, Schütte did locally what another German cooperative, Taxi Deutschland, had done on a national scale, uniting local companies all over Germany as one economic unit, galvanizing them into action and providing them with proper legal support and financial backing. European ‘mobility wars’ It is too early to decide who is winning the mobility wars in
Immediate Response & Taxi Europe, but many TNCs have found their arrival in European countries extremely difficult. Several countries have been very tenacious in defending their existing (tight) regulation, usually together with a very militant and politically well-connected taxi industry. Some have even tightened their regulation, whereas others chose a form of deregulation. Now the European
Commission (without any regulatory powers in the taxi field) is looking into EU-wide mobility regulation. The impetus: unified service provision in transportation, consumer protection and IT compatibility. In order to make a very small amount of money, most TNC drivers drive for extremely long hours—usually on more than one app—and are pushed to the limit by apps that craftily manipulate them. Not a week passes without seeing a crashed TNC vehicle marooned somewhere in the middle of the streets of London (and elsewhere)—on the reservation barrier in the middle of the road, on top of a roundabout or slap-bang against the front of a building. In an interview with a member of the European Parliament, she concluded that in industrial relations, TNCs had moved the clock back to the 19th century, before proper social regulation and protection came in, to an age “in which workers toiled for equally long hours in unsafe conditions and piecework was the norm.”
Not ‘fit and proper’ in London Not so long ago, a friend, who knows I am a mobility journalist, asked me if he should let his daughter travel with a particular TNC. I strongly advised him not to, as the safety and security of this particular app was questionable. “But you get a photo of your driver, doesn’t that prove anything?” he said. “No,” I said, and advised him to take a photo of the vehicle with a clearly recognizable official number plate and showing other useful markings. At the end of November, this TNC lost its operator’s license (for the second time) for not being a “fit and proper” operator in London, England. The local regulator, Transport for London (TfL), said it was worried about this TNC’s safety and security and stated that “passengers may be at risk,” particularly as, in 14,000 (sic) proven cases, drivers without the right qualifications managed to upload their photo to the account of a legal driver of this TNC, posing as a legal driver in the British capital. The TNC appealed the decision and keeps offering its services. Cynical disregard The loss of the London market would be catastrophic for this TNC, as it is now struggling in its second largest European market: Germany. In November, Uber, because that is the TNC we are talking about, was banned from operating in Germany using FHVs. As the TNC has no legal German headquarters (and was convicted for that), the court’s decision was sent to Uber BV, its European headquarters in Amsterdam. Cynically, Uber BV ignored the decision and carried on, saying that its European headquarters (sic) could not read the Cologne court’s verdict in German. Again, in December, a Frankfurt regional court banned Uber from operating in Germany for the same reasons: no base and misuse of German FHVs. Guess what, again Uber BV was the accused and Uber’s lawyers were not in court when the verdict was read out. It
also refused to comment until it had seen the court’s official paperwork in a further delaying action. Again, a cynical disregard for the law, as a few days after the court’s decision, Uber presented a raft of (electronic) “solutions” to make its use of the FHVs “legal.” These measures must have been prepared and implemented whilst the court case was going on.
Taxi & Private Hire in Germany
people work in the German taxi and PHV industry are operators: 20,932 taxi, 8,321 PHV & 1,146 mixed licenses.
The country has taxis, 39,593 PHV and 3,087 mixed. TNC’s negative climate footprint The Frankfurt court—in a new case— will now have to decide whether the amendments to Uber’s operation make it legal. Meanwhile, for a company which has made no profit since its start in 2009, its investors seem busy funding all manner of court actions having to do with the company’s inherent unwillingness to follow local laws. In “climate-conscious” Europe, a recent report by consultants T&E shows TNCs to have a sizeable negative climate footprint. The report estimates that in Paris and London alone, Uber has been responsible for 515 kilotons of CO2 in the few years since it started operating in those cities, equivalent to adding the CO2 emissions of an extra 250,000 cars. “Only now is the environmental cost of Uber becoming clear,” says T&E. “Fears that Uber has been increasing road traffic in the cities where it operates, and taking people off public transport, were (already) confirmed in a couple of American studies.” Facts like these will not help Uber’s shaky reputation in many European countries.
Wim Faber is a worldwide taxi and mobility specialist working from Brussels, Belgium. He also contributes to a variety of European transportation publications, including his own: www.taxiintelligence.com and www.mobilityintell.com. Wim welcomes questions and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions and recommendations in this article are those of the author, and not those of The Transportation Alliance or its transportation company members.
© 2020 Wim Faber
7 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
Luxury & Charter
Entering 2020 With a Clear Vision for the Future
By Neil Weiss
egardless of what you may think you know about climate change, transitioning to a more “sustainable” business model is a smart choice. It can save you money, a growing number of corporations are demanding it of their vendors, and in the end, it doesn’t take a diploma in science to figure out that less pollution and waste is a good thing, and something that’s worth pursuing. An international study found that 81 percent of consumers prioritize “brand ethics” as a top concern – and a separate recent survey of over 100 European buyers, carried out by the Business Travel Show, found that climate change ranked as the number one challenge facing the travel industry as a whole in 2020, up from number eight in 2019. Perhaps a 2019 UN General Assembly meeting had something to do with this shift. The genuinely terrifying message from the meeting: The window to prevent climate change from causing irreversible environmental damage will close by 2030. General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés called this the “last generation that can prevent irreparable damage,” referring specifically to our “consumption patterns.” Whether you choose to believe this prediction or not, if you have children, grandchildren or a conscience, I would like to hope that we all feel some responsibility for making sure the planet remains habitable. Even if you decide to ignore the work of scientists who have now been closely studying the climate 8 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
for decades, I assume we can all agree there is at least a possibility that human activity is causing the climate to change, and that the results could be extremely dire. And let’s not forget that there’s a 600,000-square-mile pile of garbage – literally twice the size of Texas – called “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” floating halfway between Hawaii and California. First discovered in the early 1990s, it contains about 1.8 TRILLION pieces of plastic. We can’t undo the mistakes of the past – often committed by people who were unaware of the consequences of their actions – but we can hopefully learn from those mistakes and make sure we don’t repeat them. Reducing Your Carbon Footprint From both a humanitarian and business standpoint, it makes sense to take a stand against uncontrolled climate change by improving your company’s carbon footprint. More than 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. result from the way business is currently conducted – through production, transportation, consumption and disposal of materials. Find ways to reduce fuel and energy consumption. Set waste diversion, prevention, and reduction goals. Develop policies to achieve those goals, focusing efforts on reducing, reusing, and recycling… in that order. The following are some tips for enacting policies to reduce your business’s greenhouse gas emissions and general waste.
Luxury & Charter 1. Improve your energy efficiency.
Renewable energy sources have become more prevalent in recent years. While this may require an initial investment, harnessing green energy sources like solar power will save you money in the long run. If you don’t own your property or have limited space, look into purchasing renewable energy from your power supplier. It may cost a little extra but marketing your efforts to clients should easily make it worth your while—particularly with younger business travelers, who take these issues far more seriously than previous ones. Costs are also trending in the right direction for green energy. The U.S. Department of Energy has identified lighting, heating, and cooling as the three most energy-consuming operations in an office. Identify which equipment and operations are using the most energy, then find ways to cut energy use. • Avoid cooling or heating unused areas. Shut vents to unused areas and condition only the areas that need it. • Consider unplugging appliances before leaving the office. Similarly, unplug battery chargers when batteries are fully charged. • Charge devices overnight. Some utility providers offer “time-of-use” plans, reducing the cost of energy, since it’s during off-peak hours. • Replace desktops with laptops —they consume considerably less energy. • Install only energy-efficient light bulbs. They may cost more but CFL and other energy-efficient bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy. • Don’t just blindly pay your energy bills, understand what you’re getting. If you have questions, consult your energy supplier for ways to reduce costs.
That doesn’t mean you should immediately transition your sedan fleet to Minis, but you could add a new “green” category to your menu of services. Track the popularity of those vehicles and make future purchases accordingly. There are plenty of hybrid vehicles that get 20, 30 or even 50 percent better gas mileage than their non-hybrid counterparts. That adds up to a tremendous amount of savings. The Tesla Model 3 recently became the first all-electric car to be approved for use as an official yellow cab in New York City, and they are becoming increasingly popular with taxi companies around the world. A taxi company in Amsterdam has been operating over 100 Tesla taxis for several years now. The owners say
carbon accountability. When employees understand why they are being told to change long-time habits, they are less likely to resist new eco-conscious policies. Inspire team members to take ownership of their carbon impact, encourage input on workplace energy-saving ideas and set up a “suggestions” box.
5. Eco-friendliness is good for so many reasons.
The health of our planet does not have to be at odds with capitalism. By minimizing the carbon footprint of your business, you can cut energy costs, improve employee morale, build your brand’s reputation as a leader in sustainability and even increase your bottom line—all while protecting our planet. In 2020, companies that don’t develop and promote a sustainability plan risk losing clients to those that do. It’s also worth noting that consumers who care about “brand conscience” often aren’t looking to make one-time purchases. Clients often don’t tell you why they’re leaving, they just do it. Don’t let this be the reason. Even if you have not been fully engaged in discussions of climate change, or question the findings of scientists, boil it down to pure numbers. Do you think there’s a 60 percent chance that scientists are right, that we have real reason to worry about our energy consumption? Even if you think there’s only a 20 percent chance climate change is a genuine threat, by instituting the right programs, you will create less waste and pollution for our children and grandchildren.
Inspire team members to take ownership of their carbon impact, encourage input on workplace energy-saving ideas and set up a “suggestions” box. —Neil Weiss they not only save on gas, but on maintenance. Tesla claims the Model 3 is built to last as long as a commercial truck: a million miles. The battery modules should last between 300,000 miles and 500,000 miles.
3. “Green” your waste management program.
Save money and reduce waste on everything from paper to plastic bottles. Use both sides of paper when printing. Purchase reusable packaging. Avoid single-use paper or plastic cups; substitute them with washable glasses or mugs.
4. Educate and engage employees.
Empower employees to affect positive change by educating them on
2. Cut auto emissions.
In the U.S., transportation accounts for almost 30 percent of total annual greenhouse gas emissions. As you seek to add or upgrade vehicles in your fleet, prioritize fuel consumption—both to save money and build loyalty with eco-conscious customers.
Neil Weiss is the editor/publisher of Black Car News and Taxi & Livery Times, which reach a combined 20,000 black car, limousine, taxi and livery operators and drivers in the New York City metro area. He has 25 years of experience in the industry.
The opinions and recommendations in this article are those of the author, and not those of The Transportation Alliance or its transportation company members.
© 2020 Neil Weiss 9 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
Spring Conference & Expo Focused on NEMT & Contracting
March 18 - 20, 2020 Westin Copley, Boston, MA Register Today! www.TheTransportationAlliance.org
10 • Transportation Leader • Winter Winter2020 2020
Spring Conference & Expo
SPRING CONFERENCE & EXPO PREVIEW By Rachel Wells
ith the new year upon us, it is time to start making your travel arrangements for TTA’s Spring Conference & Expo! We can’t wait to see you at the 2020 Spring Conference & Expo in Boston at the Westin Copley from March 18-20.
TTA’s President Tom Arrighi, a proud Massachusetts native, announced in last month’s newsletter that the Spring Conference & Expo will have an NEMT and contracting focus. “The Executive Committee’s decision to make the Spring Conference ‘NEMT & Contracting’ focused came about for a variety of reasons,” said Arrighi. “For one, in a survey of participants who attended TTA’s recent annual convention in Las Vegas, 50 percent of respondents said their companies are engaged in NEMT work. Even more importantly though, NEMT advocacy has always been a high priority for the association and the Spring Conference & Expo is a perfect way to share information and explore best practices in this growing field.” While we are still working to finalize the agenda, you can expect to explore topics ranging from growing your business through government program contracting opportunities, to how NEMT has opened major new business lines for fleets. At the same time, we’ll discuss how NEMT funding through Medicaid is a new legislative battlefront, and what you can do to help protect this vital service, both for the millions of Americans who rely on this lifeline to medical treatment and for our members who provide this vital service. Massachusetts may have a reputation for its winters, but fear not because TTA has thought of everything. The Westin Copley allows for attendees to stay warm and inside for as long as you want and you won’t have to step outside to go between meetings, or shopping or to dine at a variety of great restaurants in Copley Square Mall, Boston’s largest indoor shopping area, home to premier luxury brand stores and restaurants. And, while the Westin Copley’s is beautiful (and warm), for those willing to brave the cold we encourage you to explore one of the country’s most wicked historical cities! The hotel is located in the heart of the Back Bay shopping district, a skip and a hop away from the famed, high-end shopping on Newbury Street, and a short walk from beautiful Boston Common and the Public Garden. TTA has secured a room block for attendees at the Westin Copley. Be sure to book your room soon; the room block is only guaranteed until February 18, or whenever the room block sells out. Click here to make your hotel reservation. TTA’s expos have been, and always will be, the “talk of the transportation town.” Our 2020 Spring Conference & Expo will be no exception. The top vendors in the transportation industry are eager to show you how their products and services can help your business be at the top of its game. From the comfort of the Expo floor, you can efficiently explore a range of products, tools and technologies so you can compare prices on the best deals for your business. For industry vendors, exhibiting at TTA’s Spring Conference & Expo maximizes your company’s marketing dollars by placing hundreds of eyes on your products and giving you the ability to pitch to a diverse audience of transportation executives over the course of two days. For any vendors interested in showcasing in Boston, please check out the Exhibitor Prospectus and email Amanda Munger at TTA for more details. We are excited to kick off 2020 by setting new goals to support your business and build our association. With our exciting new NEMT and contracting focus, the Spring Conference & Expo is hand downs the place to be. Whether you’re a 30-year veteran of the NEMT field, an expert in acquiring contracting opportunities for your business, or a new owner looking for ways to expand your local operations, TTA’s Spring Conference & Expo has opportunities for everyone to learn and leverage new business connections. With the new decade underway, now is the time to branch out and expand your business. TTA will be behind you every step of the way. See you all in Boston! 11 11••Transportation TransportationLeader Leader•• Winter Winter2020 2020
Spring Conference & Expo Focused on NEMT & Contracting
Westin Copley, Boston, MA March 18-20, 2020
PART I: COMPANY INFORMATION Company:_________________________________________________________________________ Tel: (________) ____________________________ Address:__________________________________________________________________________ Fax: (________) ____________________________ City: ___________________________________________________________ State/Province: ________________________________________________ Country: ________________________________________________________ Zip/Postal Code: _______________________________________________
As a condition of my attendance at the Spring Conference & Expo, March 18-20, 2020, I irrevocably grant TTA the right to publish or otherwise use my image, likeness, voice, name, address and/or phone number. ADA Requirements: Please indicate by February 28, 2020, if under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you require the following aid or service:
q Audio q Visual q Mobile
PART II: ATTENDEE INFORMATION Attendee Name Provide the first and last name of each registrant and TYPE or PRINT the name CLEARLY as it should appear on the name badge. Include each registrant’s e-mail for registration and confirmation purposes. To register additional registrants, please photocopy this form.
Conference Registration Fee Refer to the Conference Fee Structure below.
E-mail Spouse Name* E-mail Name* E-mail Name* E-mail
CONFERENCE FEE STRUCTURE
Registration Received by January 31 or before
Registration Received Feb. 1 thru Feb. 29
Registration Received March 1 thru March 12
TTA Member: 2020 Operator or Public Sector or Exhibitor & Member Spouse/Partner
Nonmember Operator or Public Sector or Exhibitor & Nonmember Spouse/Partner
Non-Exhibitor: Vendor & Spouse/Partner (consultant, supplier, etc.) Child (ages 6-20)
PART III: PAYMENT INFORMATION PART III:CHECK CHECK PAYMENT INFORMATION
Checks: Please make checks payable to The Transportation Alliance. All fees must be paid in U.S. currency and drawn on a U.S. bank.
CANCELLATION & SUBSTITUTE POLICY:
100% refund less a $55 processing fee per person for a cancellation that is made in writing and received by TTA by January 31, 2020. 100% refund less a $95 processing fee per person for a cancellation that is received between February 1 and February 29, 2020. No refunds will be made for cancellations other than a documented medical emergency received on or after March 1, 2020. Substitute attendees(s) from the same company are welcome.
PART IV: INFORMATION PART IV:HOTEL HOTEL INFORMATION
The host hotel for the 2020 Spring Conference & Expo is the Westin Copley in Boston, MA. The hotel has reserved a limited block of rooms for the group until February 18, 2020 (or when the block sells out). Room rates for single or double occupancy are $239 USD. Rates do not include state and local taxes or occupancy fee. Make your reservation early my visiting www.TheTransportationAlliance.org/Spring-Conference. This is my #_________ TTA Spring Conference & Expo or check here
q if you are a first-time attendee.
3200 Tower Oaks Blvd., Suite 220 Rockville, MD 20852 p 301.984.5700 | f 301.984.5703 info@TheTransportationAlliance.org | www.TheTransportationAlliance.org
BLANK AREA FOR OFFICE USE ONLY
Are you a vendor trying to reach a bigger audience?
Reach OUR Members! TTA now offers member vendors a chance to present their products to our operator members using TTA’s webinar technology. All you have to do is prepare the presentation and let us do the rest!
Call to discuss our industry rate. Email Amanda Munger for more information.
13 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
WELCOME TO THE NEW ROARING 20s
THE NEXT DECADE OF BUSINESS DIVERSIFICATION By Dave Sutton
riverless cars. Flying taxis. E-space shuttles. When the topic of the future of for-hire transportation gets tossed about, it usually involves exceedingly advanced technological innovation. What is the new timeline for fully automated vehicles? How will flying taxis establish routes in busy urban environments? Or, the discussion involves the impact of passenger transportation on cities. What will happen to public transit and its declining ridership? Can micromobility be effectively and harmoniously incorporated into busy urban centers? TTA members have a different take. They say the future of for-hire transportation, for fleet operators, should focus on business diversification—getting into new lines of business in order to face the future with a new strength. Our 103-year-old trade association has been through changes before. Why should it not go into the new decade as the leaders of business diversification? If this message rings true for you and your company, then TTA is the place for you. Many of our members have expanded into diverse business lines through relationships, talent, or just plain sales-driven pluck. Likely, whatever business line you are interested in expanding into, a TTA operator has likely done it before and can help guide you or point the way forward. And if it’s a totally new concept to transportation, then let TTA be the place to help you succeed as you push the industry forward. From our very own association President to our recent Executive of the Year, TTA members have been embracing the new wave of technology, innovation and development to explore up and coming business opportunities.
Tom Arrighi TTA President
Tom Arrighi and A&A Metro Transportation TTA President Tom Arrighi is a champion for diversifying. The story of how his company, AA Metro Transportation, expanded into different offerings is a textbook example of how a business can thrive
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when an owner takes a business leap and branches into new transportation services. Arrighi’s taxi company began by getting into medical work. Then, schools called with students who needed wheelchair accessibility. The company began buying more wheelchair-accessible vehicles and turned this business leap into a profit center. An existing client was ferrying executives to the airport and Arrighi bought a Lincoln Town Car to do it in greater style. Then, the schools needed passengers picked up at train stations, so he bought vans and buses to do so. On the weekends, the vans and buses did small charter work.
biggest hurdle to overcome is fear of failure. —Tom Arrighi
Slowly, the number of passengers that required picking up from train stations increased from 10-20 to 50-60 so Arrighi bought motor coaches. The motor coaches ferried college sports teams to their games. Today, AA Metro Transportation runs about 140 vehicles, including eight motor coaches. Arrighi strongly believes that TTA operators should diversify their lines of business. “Why not me?,” he asked. What’s stopping me? We use the same dispatch, the same scheduling programs.” Arrighi said one of the biggest challenges for operators, in terms of diversifying, is that they get pigeonholed “as a taxi guy or black car guy.” The biggest hurdle to overcome for people is, as Arrighi put it, “people fear failure.” “You have to get the customer first,” Arrighi said. “Go in and ask. Then, buy accordingly and build your prices around your capital expenditures and labor costs.” One of the pathways to diversifying your business, Arrighi emphasizes, is simply to ask yourself, “what new
businesses can I enter?” and then find a potential client in need. For example, he notes that almost all hospitals are limited in parking. But hospitals require five or six different types of transportation. “Go in and ask how they handle dialysis patients, how they get doctors to the airport, how their employees are getting around,” Arrighi said. Truthfully, there seems to be as many paths to business diversification as there are companies.
purchased an NEMT company. Gauer’s company took yet a different path to this diversification. “We had been providing support and dispatch services for this company for three years,” Gauer said. “It wasn’t a big jump. We’re learning more about that business.” Gauer’s son, Brandon, oversees repair facilities. The repair facilities have expanded to take on business from other companies. More diversification.
Keep on Diversifying For Tom Arrighi, what comes after diversifying into new lines of business is more of the same. He said his company is hoping to expand into doing microtransit for older people. He believes that, in time, microtransit will partially replace transit buses running the same routes all day long. “All of us should be ready to jump,” Arrighi said. “Always have your radar up for new opportunities.”
Committing to Business Diversification Diversifying into new lines of business seems to mean getting involved—with clients, local transit organizations, your local community, colleges, hospitals, other sales prospects or TTA meetings on new contracting opportunities. Diversifying makes a business stronger no matter what the future brings. While one segment of your business may diminish due to unforeseen circumstances, another segment may grow for the same reason. No matter what new line of business you delve into, the key to achieving success always seems to be the same: service. A commitment to customer service is the touchstone that will get you through the newness and the new challenges. Jumping into the unknown is scary, but TTA membership offers the ability to meet and learn from transportation entrepreneurs who have pioneered new business frontiers. Their experience and insights are yours for the taking through your membership with The Transportation Alliance.
Nick Cambas and Yellow Cab & United Taxi Co. During the late 1980s, Nick Cambas’ company became involved in providing non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) because so many of the company’s regular riders were receiving transportation benefits “that it just made sense to offer both government and insurers Nick Cambas the opportunity to contract directly with a TTA President-Elect transportation provider.” Then, in the early 1990s, many of the transportation programs serving disadvantaged riders became coordinated. “We were involved from the beginning and have experienced tremendous opportunities with this service and population.” Cambas encourages others to get involved in NEMT if they’re not already. In many geographic areas, the contracting opportunities are with the local transit authority or the metropolitan planning organization (MPO). “The MPOs traditionally have scheduled meetings,” Cambas said. “I would encourage all members to attend and introduce themselves as a local operator who is there to assist. NEMT is part of many different programs and payors including: Medicaid, transit authorities, local MPOs, hospitals, and various other facilities,” Cambas said. “Another way to get involved is to participate in the TTA,” Cambas said. “Come to the meetings to learn from your peers.” In fact, this March, the TTA’s Spring Conference & Expo in Boston will focus on various aspects of NEMT and other contracting opportunities. Dave Gauer and VIP Taxi Dave Gauer, owner of VIP Taxi and TTA’s 2019 Executive of the Year, recently Dave Gauer
Joseph Rubino on Diversification Joseph Rubino is a transit consultant. On the TTA’s Workplace page (exclusive to member fleet operators), he noted a former member employer had numerous revenue streams: “We had more than 25 revenue streams. Besides all the standard public & private sector business lines involving taxis, limos, paratransit, NEMT, and bus (school bus, transit bus, charter bus, special events bus, etc.), we also did about 8 different types of passenger shuttles (airport, seaport, Joseph M. Rubino hospitals, shopping centers, parking lots, off-site employee parking, college campuses) courier services, sub-contract work with UPS & FedEX, towing services, we sold used car parts, we accepted commercial customers in our repair shop, we did auto repair for other companies in our industry, auto repair for owner operators. We also had revenue streams not involving vehicles: valet parking and concierge services in hospitals, dispatch service for other companies, accident investigation for other companies. We also did all the PASS certifications for all drivers at all companies in Miami.”
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2019 ANNUAL REPORT
2 019 ANNUAL REPORT:
New Services, New Name and Legislative Wins Define 2019 By Rachel Wells
n the last year, our trade association has seen monumental changes in the transportation industry, achieved new growth and accomplished impressive victories. As our association moves into its 103rd year, The Transportation Alliance (TTA) is prepared to be at the forefront of all of our industry’s triumphs. The association’s 2018-2019 president, Terry O’Toole, set an ambitious agenda going into his presidency at the 100th Annual Convention & Expo. Through a four-pillar strategic plan, O’Toole was able to restructure how the association would meet the demands of the future. That plan included:
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Expanding membership by “broadening the tent” to include a more diverse cross section of industry stakeholders and thought leaders; Leading the industry with strategies for increased safety, convenience and sustainable environmental practices; Identifying the best innovative practices that increase members’ profitability; and, Enhancing drivers’ image and performance.
To better reflect those pillars, the association decided to make another big change: After nearly two decades as the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, the association was ready to adopt new, more modern branding. As part of a strategic effort, the association’s new name, The Transportation Alliance, was officially unveiled and approved at a meeting of the group’s membership during the association’s Spring Conference & Expo in New Orleans in March. “The Transportation Alliance is a modern, inclusive name we can all embrace as we look to the future of how our professional for-hire fleets connect with passengers,” O’Toole said. “Transportation is one of the most rapidly changing industries on the planet right now, and that will continue. We needed a name that welcomes old and new partners alike into our broadening tent, and The Transportation Alliance imparts that strategic direction.”
The new name sets the table for the association to meet the challenges and opportunities that abound in today’s transportation landscape, in a market that has grown exponentially in recent years. The Transportation Alliance made tremendous gains in helping its members stay abreast of market trends, seize new opportunities, and advocate on behalf of the industry. Industry-Leading Meetings Two of the greatest values for our members have always been the educational and networking opportunities presented by our meetings. In 2019, TTA held three major meetings: • Spring Conference & Expo: With the tagline “Big Ideas in the Big Easy,” the event brought operators and vendors to New Orleans, April 24-26, to discuss the latest trends in a relaxed setting. Through keynote speaker Kayvan Baroumand, the conference featured an introduction to total quality management, an idea that took hold in 2019 through a series of training sessions, as will be discussed later in this annual report. • Legislative Fly-In / Mid-Year Board Boarding: Held June 4-6 in Washington, D.C., this event marked an important turning point in several ways. Attendees were delighted to find staunch champions in non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), including the event’s guest speaker, Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) who delivered remarks over breakfast to members. Fly-In participants focused on two major messages: protecting NEMT for millions of Americans, and the need for fingerprint-based background checks for any driver providing transportation through federal contracts. • Mobilize 2019: As a way to embrace the association’s rebranded appearance, the 101st Annual Convention & Expo was rebranded as “Mobilize 2019.” Members and exhibitors from as far away as the Philippines and Australia gathered at Bally’s Las Vegas on Oct.16-19. In addition to meeting with our industry’s most prominent and progressive vendors, attendees heard from a diverse trio of keynote speakers, including Kansas City Area Transportation Authority CEO Robbie Makinen, who only weeks later gained national notoriety for making public transportation free in his city. Attendees also witnessed industry titan Mark Joseph receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. The association unveiled two new driver onboarding videos available to all members, and even ran its first-ever hackathon to examine microtransit options and viability in two test cities.
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Annual Report Expanding Membership Services Understanding that members are the backbone of any association, O’Toole sought to expand membership services. In 2019 alone, the association added five new membership service benefits including:
PERKS: A program in which members can save on everything from auto parts to gasoline to office supplies. Through PERKS, vendors can promote special offers that are limited exclusively to our members. Members can potentially save thousands of dollars through this program. Workplace: A closed social media group for member fleet operators, in which top executives can pose questions and share business tips. This digital, exclusive club allows members to join in on discussions and start new ones. Members post questions to their peers on everything from vehicles, contracting, insurance, airport fees, and much more. One member even gave away free surplus fleet supplies to fellow members on this platform, which has proven to be a terrific complement to our open channels on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. E-newsletters: The association added to its newsletters available exclusively to members, bringing the number to five bimonthly publications: Dispatch, Taxicab, Limousine, Paratransit and the new offering, Innovations. Each of these newsletters brought original content available nowhere else. Combined with Media Watch, a compendium of top industry news issued to members each workday, these private publications keep members more fully informed and better prepared for success. Vendor-Sponsored Webinars: A beneft where members can learn directly from top industry vendors about how their product can help increase your business and increase your bottom line. The addition of vendor-sponsored webinars is just one example of the ways TTA is dedicated to ensuring our members, both vendors and operators alike, have the very best networking, business development, and educational opportunities available to them. Driver Videos: With the support of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Foundation (TLPF), members now have free access to two new driver onboarding videos, each five minutes in length. The videos were produced to help member fleets with driver recruitment and retention. One video, “A New Era in Transportation,” promotes driver recruitment and was designed to be applicable to a wide array of drivers, whether they serve taxicab, limousine,
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paratransit, non-emergency medical transport, or shuttle industries. The second video, “Tools for Success,” helps fleet managers prepare their independent contractor drivers to be small, independent businesses. This second video also has a companion component to it, a downloadable PowerPoint presentation with useful information on insurance, budgeting, maintenance tracking, various apps to improve business management and service delivery, and other topics. Additionally, members have the ability to brand these videos to a specific fleet, thanks to a special deal negotiated with the company that produced these videos. These new offerings would not have been possible without the commitment of many, from President O’Toole to the numerous committees that helped plan and deliver these products. Thank you to all for your tremendous work. Testing New Business Concepts In addition to accessing the expanded membership services, three members were able to gain first-hand experience using TQM to increase driver rentention. Following Baroumand’s presentation on TQM, the association, at the request of the Driver Workforce Development Committee, created an opportunity for three test cases, with the goal of sharing the information to the full membership. These test cases were made possible with the generous support of the TLPF, led by its president, Robbie Werth. The three test cases were Gateway Global in San Francisco, California; Black & White Transportation in Toledo, Ohio; and LA Yellow Cab Co-Op in Los Angeles, California. These three fleets were chosen to represent a cross section of the industry operating taxicabs, limousines, and paratransit vehicles. Representatives from all three fleets spoke at Mobilize 2019 on the early ideas that the training had provided. Members will receive an update on how TQM has been used to modify their operations with a goal of improving driver recruitment and training in future TTA communications. Partnership Spurs First-Ever Hackathon The association delved into data-driven business opportunities in its first-ever “Microtransit Hackathon,” in what was also a first-ever partnership with the International Association of Transportation Regulators. During the five-day competition, university students examined anonymized taxi trip data from two cities—Toronto and St. Louis—provided by the dispatch software company CMT/Mobile Knowledge. Students were tasked with identifying efficiencies and profit opportunities that could be used to map out possible microtransit routes for eight-passenger vans
Annual Report capable of also serving passengers who use wheelchairs. Four teams competed for the $5,000 prize, made possible with the generous support of TLPF and Curb Mobility, LLC. New York University won the grand prize and presented its findings at Mobilize 2019. Leadership in the 21st Century The Transportation Alliance thrives by creating shared, mutual value for all industry stakeholders and by providing a unified voice for the industry through the effective use of its leadership, resources, support, and expertise. As one of the most active trade associations with a global reach, TTA continued to be a powerful voice advocating for our members on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. In 2019, some of TTA’s advocacy successes included the following:
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Helped to protect Medicaid-funded NEMT by advocating to and working closely with key members of Congress. After major concerns that states would be allowed to opt out of paying for NEMT, those services remained intact when Congress included wording to protect NEMT funding for 2020 in the year-end federal appropriations bill that President Trump signed into law. Worked diligently to amend a General Services Administration draft RFP that seemed written to pave the way for Uber and/or Lyft to obtain a federal contract to provide federal employee transportation in 50 major metropolitan areas. Advocated vociferously for safety in one-on-one meetings in Congress and during a two-hour Congressional hearing, calling for Uber, Lyft and any other private companies receiving federal contracts for passenger transportation to ensure drivers used in those contracts undergo fingerprint-based background checks, as well as drug and alcohol screening. Cosponsored the biannual International Conference on Demand Responsive and Innovative Transportation Services organized by the Transportation Research Board. Testified at the Massachusetts State House on transportation safety at the request of operators within the state. Convened an important set of focus groups consisting of Massachusetts operators on ways the state could allocate millions of dollars to assist traditional taxicab and livery fleets.
The people in this room are the future of this industry. This is a phenomenal organization. It’s one of a kind, truly. And it’s been one of the greatest honors of my professional career to serve you as your president. —Terry O’Toole TTA President, 2018-19 2019 State of the Industry At Mobilize 2019, O’Toole delievered his farewell address as president to the association’s membership. In it, he highlighted his strategic vision, which he outlined in his 2018 presidential acceptance speech. O’Toole also hit on the accomplishments he saw the association through in one of its most groundbreaking and influential years yet. “One year ago, I started my acceptance speech by stating, ‘There is less to fear from outside competition than from inside inefficiency, discourtesy and bad service.’” O’Toole said. “It was true then and it’s even more true today. The people in this room are the future of this industry. We are enthusiastically investing our time, money and energy into our businesses and driving this industry into a brighter future.” He continued: “This is a phenomenal organization. It’s one of a kind, truly. And it’s been one of the greatest honors of my professional career to serve you as your president.” The Path Forward With the close of one chapter came the beginning of a new one as Tom Arrighi of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, was sworn in as the new president of The Transportation Alliance. Arrighi began his first address by thanking O’Toole for his years of dedication to the industry and the work he had accomplished in his year as president, saying, “I have never worked with someone as committed to the issues facing the transportation industry and concerned for the success of our members as you.” After introducing himself to the association members, taking them through the story of how he and his brother at the last minute decided to take on their father’s taxicab business,
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Annual Report which led to him standing there before them as president. Arrighi went on to outline his presidential agenda for the upcoming year, which included diversification, expansion and advocacy. “The future of our industry is bright, but we must not wait for the winds to change, we must act now. We must look outside the way we are currently doing business and seek a new way forward for our industry. Throw out the old playbook. Look at rivals and ask, what are they doing better?” As one of the most influential advocacy voices in Washington, Arrighi noted TTA’s important role in amplifying the association’s message in the eyes of lawmakers. “Outside the walls of this convention hall there are battles being fought that strike at the heart of our livelihoods,” Arrighi said. “As TNC’s expand into new transportation services, our industry is held to a double standard by the government. That is why we must greatly increase our advocacy in Washington, D.C. We may not have the billions of dollars that Uber or Lyft have. But what we lack in funds we make up for in connections with our community. We will bring each member’s story to their elected officials with frequency, clarity, and conviction. The shine is wearing off TNCs and their safety hazards are being exposed. The members of The Transportation Alliance should be seen by every elected official as the prime example of safe and reliable transportation. I intend to use this organization to amplify that message.” With words of inspiration and hope for the industry’s future, Arrighi reminded members to view the changes in their industry as opportunities for growth and prosperity.
The future of our industry is bright, but we must not wait for the winds to change, we must act now. We must look outside the way we are currently doing business and seek a new way forward for our industry and throw out the old playbook. —Tom Arrighi TTA President
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“Our industry has never seen as much change and uncertainty in our 102-year history as we do now,” he said. “While some may see gloom, I see hope. I see opportunity. I see prosperity. I genuinely believe that the changes going on around us can lead us to a bright future.” He concluded: “Our best days are ahead of us.” With that, and with the strains of “Taking Care of Business” blaring over the convention hall loudspeakers, Arrighi brought attendees to their feet with applause. Changes Ahead in 2020 Since the installment of a new president and less than one month into the new year, The Transportation Alliance has already accomplished a lot. The Transportation Alliance has moved its flagship quarterly magazine, Transportation Leader, to a digital platform. All four issues this year will be available online. The fall issue, however, which contains important pre-annual convention information, will also be printed and mailed to all members. Another change that you may have already seen comes from the communications department. Rather than offering multiple e-newsletters every month (Taxicab, Limousine, Paratransit, Dispatch and Innovations), TTA has converted to a single monthly e-newsletter called Transportation Insights. As the industry has continued to diversify into different sectors, the association felt it was important for itself do diversify to represent all industry fields. “The goal of this newsletter is to help better cross-pollinate the ideas and business trends that shape our industry today,” Arrighi said in his first e-newsletter column of 2020, in which he introduced Transportation Insights to our members. Each issue will cover stories relating to all sectors of transportation, including industry news and trends. Congress also wasted no time getting back to work after the holiday recess. Prior to the break, the association worked closely with key members on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, strategizing on a committee hearing focused in part on H.R. 3935, the Protecting Patients Transportation Care Act. This hearing has set the agenda quickly for the association’s legislative priorities for
the year ahead, proof of the effectiveness of TTA’s legislative work. While it has been less than a month since our members flipped their calendars to a new page and a new year, The Transportation Alliance has quickly started implementing changes and initiatives to diversify our association and lead the industry into the years ahead. The industry’s accomplishments, legislative wins and growth would not have been possible without our dedicated and skilled board leadership, our many valued members (currently representing some 250 cities on four continents) and the association’s staff and consultants. Transportation is one of the most exciting, fastest growing, and ever-changing fields today. The needs and expectations of customers will only continue to grow. There is a bright future ahead for today’s modern fleet, and The Transportation Alliance is excited to help all of its members seize the opportunities of this exciting decade, and beyond.
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Executive of the Year
Dave Gauer Named TTA’s Executive of the Year By Dave Sutton
ave Gauer of VIP Taxi in Phoenix, Arizona, was recently honored as Executive of the Year by The Transportation Alliance. Gauer got into the taxicab business in 1977 when he traded his overly souped-up motorcycle for his first taxicab with American Taxi. Eventually, Gauer grew this single taxi into a 30-car fleet. In 1993, Gauer was offered a business partnership at 303 Taxi which, at the time, had about 150 cabs. He and his business partner who was also invited into the partnership, believed that with the introduction of new technology that they could take the company to the next level. “We were both pilots and very familiar with GPS,” Gauer said. “We knew this technology was coming. And we were looking closely at computerized dispatch companies, watching them develop their products.” “We knew the tech would bring about better cab service, make us more accountable, more productive,” Gauer continued. “We bought a partnership in a small company and wanted to be able to build and expand the business. The only way you’re going to be able to do that is by providing better service than your competition.” By 1998, the company had grown to over 600 cabs and provided tens of thousands of rides monthly to children with special needs. In 2001, Gauer and his partners bought Flash Cab, growing that fleet to over 700 vehicles. In 2005, Gauer and his partners ran a test program, taking over Chicago’s Central dispatch for accessible taxis. The Chicago commissioner had publicly discussed how the existing service was terrible for customers needing accessibility. The result of Gauer’s efforts would make Chicago one of the most accessible cities in the nation. “We held the drivers accountable,” Gauer said. “We had them on GPS and watched them closely. If they went along with the program, they were rewarded very well. I think it was about six months before we turned the whole program around.” In 2007, Gauer bought a small Arizona cab company, which he renamed VIP Taxi. He would eventually give up his Chicago
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business interests to focus full time on the Arizona company. Moving to Arizona was a culture change. “In the city of Chicago you had all kinds of regulations,” Gauer said. “In Arizona at that time the only thing you had to have was a sticker on the outside of the car that matched the rate on the meter, and insurance on the one day the car was looked at each year. It was the Wild West.” Gauer said Arizona’s rules were “too loose,” but the lack of regulation allowed him to focus on building his business. Dave Gauer and Sons Gauer runs VIP Taxi alongside his two sons, Brandon and Jason. Brandon oversees the fleets in both Tucson and Phoenix, as well as the repair facilities. “He (Brandon) has really expanded the repair business: That’s a separate business all to itself,” Gauer said. Jason oversees sales/dispatch and has written innovative software to improve customer service. “He’s got other cab companies that are buying software from him,” Gauer said. When asked what his favorite part of going to work every day is, Gauer responded, “I’m a lucky guy. I get to go to work with my kids every day and everybody gets along.” There was a time when the specter of TNCs made Gauer question the wisdom of getting his sons involved in the taxicab business. “At one point, with rideshare, I wasn’t sure I was doing them any favors,” Gauer said. “But, in reality, it’s not that way. The quality of rideshare cars, their drivers and service has gone down and our cab business is getting better because of that and our quality.” “I want my kids to do well years from now,” Gauer added. “As long as they are involved in a business where there appears to be a future, I’m all for it.” Speaking of the future, Waymo (Google) operates one of the country’s top driverless-car programs in Arizona. Gauer, who seems equally interested in customer service and technical innovation, pointedly noted that autonomous vehicles among other things cannot help elderly passengers into a car, cannot assist with groceries or move bags, and cannot input codes to get into apartment complexes. “If all the cars went driverless, I think our taxi business would improve—I think we’d have more business,” Gauer emphasized. What was the best moment of his career? “I guess maybe when I took the Arizona company over in 2011 and it just became my sons and I,” Gauer said. “It was not a great time: Business was slow, rideshare was killing us. But it was all on us and I liked that.” Gauer was nominated for the TTA award by his son Jason. Jason, who has been in the business since he was very young, has traveled the country to review numerous other operations, but never met anyone who could equal his father’s passion. “Sometimes I get an email at three in the morning about how we can do something differently,” he said. “This is a person who lives and breathes this industry.” Gauer said he loves being a member of TTA and especially attending its conferences. “There’s nothing better than getting together with a group of people who are experiencing some of the same problems,” he said. “Everybody has ideas. For a couple of years, everybody’s head was hanging low (because of TNCs). Now, it’s ‘this is what we face and we can still make this work.’ I like that attitude.”
TTA 2020-2021 Board of Directors Nominations Open Member Participation Is the Key to the Continued Success of TTA
All TTA members are encouraged to participate in TTA’s nomination process, either by volunteering to have your name placed into nomination to serve on the board of directors (operator members only), nominating someone to serve on the board of directors or volunteering to serve on the Nominating Committee. For those who would like to be considered by the Nominating Committee for a position on the TTA board of directors starting in October 2020, you should plan to address the committee in person at the TTA Spring Conference & Expo in Boston, MA, March 18-20, 2020, or send a letter expressing interest to the TTA office to be submitted to the Nominating Committee when it meets in Boston, MA. The Nominating Committee will abide by the following 11 provisions in carrying out its responsibilities: 1) The President shall announce all the members of the Nominating Committee approximately 30 days before the Spring Conference & Expo is held. 2) The Nominating Committee shall hold its first meeting at the Spring Conference. A portion of the Nominating Committee meeting shall be open so that any member who wants to put forth a candidate (themselves or someone else) can make a personal statement to the committee. The committee may also hold closed deliberations to review potential candidates and to determine what information they would like to have concerning participating, geographic representation, etc. No selection for any position would take place at the first committee meeting. 3) The Nominating Committee shall hold a second closed meeting to fully deliberate on and select the nomination slate. The second meeting shall either take place at the Mid-Year Board Meeting or within approximately 30 days (before or after), and the nomination slate shall be announced as soon thereafter as is practical. 4) There is a “no conflict policy” that prohibits anyone who serves on the Nominating Committee from being nominated to serve as the director or officer of the association and from voting on any relative, employee or partner so nominated. 5) Neither the president nor any other person, except the Chief Executive Officer, shall be permitted in the meeting room while the Nominating Committee is deliberating. 6) The Chairperson of the Nominating Committee shall only vote to break a tie. 7) The potential nominees shall be given fairly detailed notice of what is expected of them as a board member (e.g., travel, financial responsibilities and participation). 8) Each committee is responsible for its one year of deliberation and cannot commit any subsequent committee to any action. 9) All positions (Directors, Vice Presidents and Treasurer) are subject to review at the end of a term. There is not automatic renewal or accession, except for the position of President-Elect. 10) The Nominating Committee will announce its nominations late, but the internal committee discussions are to be kept confidential. 11) Notice of this nominating process and a call for volunteers shall be published in each Winter issue of Transportation Leader magazine.
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NEMT & Paratransit
Position Your Company for Local Opportunities
By Joseph M. Rubino
ou have heard the expression that luck is being in the right place at the right time. I believe that is only half correct. I believe that not only do you have to be in the right place at the right time, but you have to be doing the right things, in the right way, and with the right people. In addition, you need to keep both your eyes and your mind open. If not, you may not know it is the right time. For fleet operators, unless you are fully engaged with your local market, and fully informed about the total transportation universe in your own town, opportunities might be there, but you might not know they exist, or you might not recognize them. Or, you could be in the right place, at the right time, and aware that opportunity exists, but if you are not prepared, then you will not be able to capitalize on it. This is important because of the confluence of events now creating opportunities for you right in your hometown, and if you attended Mobilize 2019 this past October in Las Vegas, then you know what I am talking about. At Mobilize 2019, the Annual Convention & Expo of The Transportation Alliance, you witnessed both your past and your future. Evidence was presented demonstrating that local transit dynamics that existed decades ago, dynamics that enabled the creation of some of the greatest fleets in our organization’s history, are indeed re-emerging. This means the stage has been set for you and your company to seize new opportunities. Let me elaborate. To begin with, we should all be very proud of both the new 24 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
president of The Transportation Alliance, Tom Arrighi, and the immediate past president, Terry O’Toole. The torch has been well passed, and these last two conventions illustrate that this torch is burning bright. While the 2018 convention and trade show showcased the new dynamism of The Transportation Alliance in its transition from the TLPA, it was just our opening act. At Mobilize 2019, the opportunities presented to us were there, front and center. Mobilize 2019 featured exciting presentations from public transit officials in three different regions: Houston, TX; Kansas City, MO; and Orange County, CA. All of these agencies talked to us not only about the future of transit, but about the role of our members right now in their transit universes. They touted the benefits of doing business with local operators in order to solve problems the agencies could not solve on their own. The officials did this by conveying their experiences with outsourcing transit needs to local fleets, all of which are members of our organization. This was very gratifying and should give you the inspiration you need to get more involved with municipal players in this age of microtransit and on-demand public transit. And although some of these opportunities might be new to your area, the possibilities have been around for decades. In 2012, I wrote a column in this space titled, “Never Forget You Are the Expert.” I explained the need to establish your company as the premier company in town with both public
NEMT & Paratransit and private sector leaders, even getting involved in the local transit-planning process to showcase your ability to provide value to local players. Accomplishing that will often introduce you to opportunities that emerge in your area. The same dynamic can work for you as an individual. Your goal is not only that your company will become the go-to local company; you also want to be considered the go-to person. You need to be considered THE local expert when it comes to ground passenger transportation. In 2018, I wrote, again in this space: “Don’t Forget: You STILL Are the Expert!” I stressed the importance of being proactive with both clients and prospects in terms of not only informing them of your capabilities, but in helping them understand specifically what it is you do. I explained that many trip purchasers assume passenger transport is far less complex than it actually is. One of the biggest issues you have to deal with as a provider is your customer not understanding your value, and how difficult it is to perform the services you provide. Many transit agencies and non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) clients choose the wrong provider because they simply do not comprehend the real issues in our industry, and you need to help them understand. So what are these new opportunities, and what is different now? As you are painfully aware, many local fleets have had a tough time over the past 15 years. The emergence of large, national fleets took a huge dent out of local paratransit opportunities. Many of you suffered the indignity of having a company based in another state come to your town and win your local paratransit contract, only to operate it with drivers, call center staff, and even managers you hired and trained years before! These events occurred simultaneously with NEMT Medicaid brokers offering you a rate structure that would guarantee you lose money, while they were signing up low-price providers operating out of
their backyard. Finally, transportation network companies (TNCs) came to your town, disrupting taxicab and limousine work while nosing their way into NEMT. But now the bloom is coming off of the rose and the thorns are visible. Many municipalities now realize that playing musical chairs with national players does not solve local paratransit problems. Adding to that, the $50/trip fees started to wear thin at City Hall, and now taxi-style Dial a Rides have emerged as a more economical option to traditional paratransit. The Dial a Ride show will be coming to your town soon, if it has not already.
presentation at Mobilize 2019. In explaining his company’s philosophical and historical approach to providing NEMT and paratransit, he stressed the importance of understanding costs and pricing, and only agreeing to perform work one can do at a high rate of customer satisfaction while still being profitable. He stated he has used his experiences with NEMT brokers as a way to hone his systems and costs to maximum efficiency. Del Cardayre is using that same approach to perform Medicare NEMT and to work with insurers such as Aetna, United Healthcare and Humana. In addition, as TNCs have become involved in local transit, Van Go is increasing its paratransit portfolio due to the TNCs inability to perform wheelchair-accessible trips. Finally, he explained that Van Go has built a reputation as “the expert” in its region, and as a provider that treats drivers with dignity, offering above industry wages and benefits. Del Cardayre said: “We have standards, and they are high standards. That is why our prices are what they are.” He reminded me of something I learned early in my career: You never have to apologize to anyone for having standards. So not only do you have to be in the right place at the right time, but you have to be doing the right things, in the right way, and with the right people. Having standards will enable you to do that. And being engaged with your community, while your eyes and mind are open, will help you position your company for new opportunities, and then recognize them when they appear.
Being engaged with your community, while your eyes and mind are open, will help you position your company for new opportunities, and then recognize them when they appear. —Joseph M. Rubino Meanwhile, some strong-willed companies that kept their standards high while resisting NEMT brokers’ Scrooge-like rates eventually either 1) got the rate they were looking for; or, 2) were able to gain lucrative B2B NEMT work due to those high standards. Some companies got BOTH. More recently, managed care organizations managing Medicaid or Medicare NEMT have suddenly realized the TNC they signed up is not overjoyed at doing wheelchair-accessible transport, nor going into the dialysis center and escorting a septuagenarian outside after waiting for 15 minutes. My point is, a lot of transportation purchasers are having some “Oooops” moments. And this is where you come in. Longtime TTA member Sid del Cardayre, president of Van Go, Inc. of Richmond, VA, made an important
Joe Rubino’s expertise covers all modalities of ground passenger transportation. He has worked on transit projects in 47 states. He also works extensively as an expert witness on civil cases and regulatory issues. Contact him at email@example.com or at www.jmrubinoconsulting.com.
Joseph M. Rubino
The opinions and recommendations in this article are those of the author, and not those of The Transportation Alliance or its transportation company members.
© 2020 Joe Rubino 25 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
Do You Have a PR Plan for Protecting NEMT? By John Boit
he other day I was having lunch with a journalist from National Public Radio to discuss various transportation issues. Before we even ordered lunch, he surprised me with a question I didn’t expect. “I keep hearing this term, ‘non-emergency medical transportation’” he said. “What’s that all about, anyway?” What struck me was that I hadn’t mentioned non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) to him. Yet he’d heard it from somewhere. When you couple the media’s curiosity on a subject with an issue that has legitimate news value, it’s a perfect time to ask how you can take advantage of that convergence. Of course, members of The Transportation Alliance (TTA) are well versed in NEMT. After all, in a survey of attendees at our annual convention last year, more than 50 percent identified NEMT as a major line of business for their fleets. And of course, TTA spent significant time and effort in 2019 working hard to successfully stave off an attempt by some members of Congress and the Trump Administration that would have allowed states to opt-out of paying for Medicaid-funded trips. That fight culminated in NEMT funding being protected—at least for now— with language placed in the massive appropriations bill that President Trump signed at the end of December to keep the federal government running. 26 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
The fight is far from over. Like no other year, 2020 is going to be a crucial moment for this industry to advocate strongly for NEMT. This service, which provides millions of Americans with transportation to lifesaving medical appointments, will face scrutiny. Elected lawmakers will claim it is rife with fraud and abuse. Others will call for it to be cut as part of government downsizing. And competition like Uber and Lyft will try to tell those very same people that they can do it better, faster and cheaper than our industry. The truth is that NEMT service saves enormous amounts of money. One study found that for every $1 spent on NEMT, an astonishing $11 is saved in emergency care that arises when patients delay or miss their medical appointments. As Ben Franklin famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So what can you do to help with an information campaign about NEMT? Here are a few ideas: • Make sure you have a relationship with your elected representatives in Washington D.C. There’s no time like the present to let them know who you are. Even a meeting with a staffer can help. If you need to find your elected lawmakers, just type in your address into this easy-to-use database. Visit them in their offices in your state, and invite them to come
and see your operation. Getting a staffer to come instead of a Congressmen can sometimes be just as effective, and sometimes even more beneficial to you, giving you a key contact on the inside of that office. Our legislative and communications team can help you plan for such an event. • Be sure to participate in this year’s Legislative Fly-In in Washington, D.C. The date for this will be announced soon, and will likely take place in May. This is a chance to join fellow operators from around the country, fanning out across Capitol Hill to meet with elected officials to discuss the most
for it faced a huge threat last year, and that could very well happen again this year. I can help show you what NEMT is all about and help you prepare for that. Would you like to come and see my fleet operation?” Reporters love opportunities for someone to peel back the proverbial curtain on an industry or story. Make 2020 the year you position yourself as a go-to source of information on NEMT in your local media. • Start talking about NEMT on your social media. Tell people how many rides you perform each year for NEMT. Tell them why these rides are important. Post pictures of your vehicles and drivers, and put a face to the service. • And of course, of the best places to learn about this and other NEMT issues, as well as to meet with fellow operators from around the country, is at our Spring Conference & Expo in Boston on March 18-20. Held at the Westin Copley Place, this year’s event will have a specific “NEMT and Contracting” focus. Come hear about the latest opportunities and challenges in this growing transportation space. Be sure to sign early to make your discounted hotel reservations, register online or pay by check for the conference, or secure your exhibit space. This is a crucial year for the industry to amplify our messages in unison about the importance of NEMT. It is a vital and growing business line for our members, and a service that quite literally saves lives. That message can start with you. I am always available to talk with any member about strategies to make that happen. Together, let’s continue to protect and promote NEMT in 2020.
This is a crucial year for the industry to amplify our messages about the importance of NEMT. That message can start with you. —John Boit
important transportation issues of the moment. Without question, NEMT will be among those issues. The legislative team does all the set-up work for you, arranging all the meetings with your officials. This event has grown in participation over the past few years, allowing our collective voices to truly amplify in the halls of power. If you haven’t ever participated in the fly-in, make this your year to get involved. • Write an email and then follow up with a phone call to the reporter who covers transportation at your local newspaper. A simple pitch like this might work: “You may not have heard much about non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) funded by Medicaid on your beat, but you will hear a lot more about it in 2020. This is a lifeline to medical appointments for millions of Americans, including right here in our city. But funding
John Boit is executive vice president of The Transportation Alliance (TTA). He is also a senior founding partner at Melwood Global, TTA’s public relations firm of record. He may be reached at jboit@ thetransportationalliance.org. The opinions and recommendations in this article are those of the author, and not those of TTA or its transportation company members.
© 2020 John Boit 27 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
Annual Convention Recap
ANNUAL CONVENTION & EXPO RECAP
LOOKING TO RELIVE THE FUN? CLICK HERE FOR A SUMMARY OF MOBILIZE 2019 MOST ICONIC MOMENTS.
28 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
Annual Convention Recap
29 • Transportation Leader • Winter 2020
U.S. Fleet Operator, Broker & TNC Membership Application Visit www.TheTransportationAlliance.org to learn more.
Your Membership Dues Dues are based on the number of vehicles operating in your organization’s system and the membership-service level you choose. To determine your specific dues options, please review the chart online. Affiliate - Basic: $395 to $4,995 • Active - Comprehensive: $487 to $5,687 • Active - Leadership: $1,487 to $7,687
ORGANIZATION PROFILE Organization Name _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Representative Name: _____________________________________________ E-Mail: __________________________________________________________________ Basic Comprehensive and Leadership members may select 1, 2 and 4 additional staff members, respectively, to receive benefits: Name: __________________________________________________________ E-mail: __________________________________________________________________ Name: __________________________________________________________ E-mail: __________________________________________________________________ Name: __________________________________________________________ E-mail: _________________________________________________________________ Name: __________________________________________________________ E-mail: __________________________________________________________________ Mailing Address: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ City: ___________________________________________________________ State: ___________________________________________________________________ USA Zip Code: _______________________________________________________ Country: _________________________________________________________________ Administrative Phone: ____________________________________________ Local Reservations Phone: __________________________________________________ Toll-Free Phone: __________________________________________________ Website: www.____________________________________________________________ Sponsor (if any): ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Organization Type (select one):
Transportation Network Company (TNC)
Dues are based on the number of passenger vehicles (taxicab, limousine, livery, paratransit, TNC, airport and/or corporate shuttles, nonemergency medical, etc.) operating in an organization’s system. • The Transportation Alliance dues cover all vehicles connected with The Transportation Alliance member operator’s organization(s). That means that all passenger vehicles receiving any service whatsoever from the member operator or from the operator’s organizations (company, cooperative, association, dispatch service) that operate within 75 miles of your organization’s location are covered. This includes independents, affiliates and/or associates who own their own vehicles and/or their own permits and simply purchase dispatch or insurance or some other service from The Transportaion Alliance member operator’s organization(s). • Since many fleets either trade under several different names and/or different corporate structures, it is required that all of these diverse entities that are affiliated with the operator, or the operator’s management team, and which are located within 75 miles of The Transportation Alliance member organization(s), are covered by The Transportation Alliance dues. The organization can have each affiliated transportation service join The Transportation Alliance independently or all services operating within a 75-mile radius can be amalgamated into one large member, but all of them must join for any one of them to join.
MEMBERSHIP SELECTION Membership-Service Level:
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Vehicle Counts: Taxicab _________ Limousine _________ Paratransit _________ TNC _________ Other_________ Total _________ 2020 Dues*: _________________ Names of the Operator Organizations Your Vehicles Are Affiliated with (e.g., Yellow Cab, Luxury Transport, Accessible Transportation): _________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ *Membership dues in The Transportation Alliance are for the calendar year and may not be deducted as a charitable contribution, but may be deducted as a business expense, except that twenty percent (20%) of your dues, which will be used for lobbying, is not tax deductible under U.S. law.
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Formerly the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association