Last Saturday, the Board of Directors of the the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association (TLPA), which represents most of the taxi, limousine and paratransit companies in the USA and Canada, gave the green light for the development of an alternative business model in their taxi division. Working groups in other divisions are also drawing up similar new business models inspired by competition from TNC’s like Uber and Lyft.
The alternative business model, presented by president-elect Bill Scalzi, sees the US taxi industry working as one unified platform using a national taxi app. The association has been fighting TNC’s for five years and on many fronts. On the political front it has been winning some battles, and equally on the consumer front with its aggressive anti-TNC campaign website ‘Who Is Driving You’, highlighting many of the shortcomings of TNC’s. Despite that many fleets in the country are suffering from the cost-cutting tactics employed by Uber, Lyft and others.
Part of the new approach is a nationwide app (or at least a roaming function for existing taxi apps), a cost cutting model with more flexible fares and a new marketing programme. Unlike TNC’s taxi operators need to maintain expensive dispatch and repair facilities as they own their vehicles and have them insured properly. Other than TNC’s taxi operators doen’t profit from lenient regulatory frameworks but are bound to tight rules and regulations. The business model will also look at vehicle ownership and new types of insurance, taking a few pages out of the TNC-textbook.
• TLPA is looking for a fundamental change in the business model for taxis, limousines and paratransit.