Making a diversified business is another challenge for TLPA’s membership. “We need to expand more into new modes – from taxi into new areas,” said past-president Bill Scalzi, who runs M7, a large cab company in Connecticut. “We need new services, so we got into coaches.” Like others he – with his 100 CNG-powered vans – also diversified into medical work and transportation for disabled people and added contract work to his portfolio: “We partnered with an ambulance firm and a hospital to do all the non-emergency work.”
One operator from Toledo did something similar: “Often, when I said that I was in the taxi business, people walked away from me. Taxis have a bad name. Then I changed the name of my company into B&W Transportation and expanded into coaches. Best thing I’ve ever done.” He stressed the importance of relationships and the value of going after (government) contract work. “Government people will treat you like shit. But go for that contract work and hang in there. Keep trying!”
Others stressed that traditional taxi companies know their city better than Uber or Lyft. “You know exactly what your customers want.” One operator, calling himself a “90 year old start-up” underlined the need to “take care of your employees, your drivers, your customers and above all of the community you live and work in. Engage in that community spirit, make donations, preferably in offering free rides. That helps the good cause you’re supporting and makes people notice you. And always apply the latest technology.”
This (young) operator started with a 100 cabs – in four years he added 70 new ones. He also changed his company’s logo and put a heart in it and set up a system called ‘OpenFleet’ in which he offers drivers and customers a large choice of vehicles in one system. He added electric vehicles to the fleet – charged by mobile chargers – and charged and dispatched the e-cabs from micro hubs. He also used the lessons of ‘Smart City’, a programme preparing US cities for Mobility-as-a-Service-like systems. (© 2018 TaxiIntelligence).
- Past-president Bill Scalzi (M7, Connecticut): “We need to expand more into new modes – from taxi into new areas.”