Wednesday, January 16, 2019

TLPA Steering Committee Co-Chairs (L to R) Matt Assolin of Nikko's Worldwide, Sam Amato of Gateway Global, and Tom Arrighi of A&A Metro Transportation along with CD Publisher Chris WeissNew Orleans — Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) headed to the Crescent City for its winter meeting for the Limousine & Sedan Steering Committee on Wednesday, January 24. Spearheaded by committee co-chairs Sam Amato of Gateway Global, Matt Assolin of Nikko's Worldwide Chauffeured Services, and Tom Arrighi of A&A Metro Transportation, the meeting covered a wide array of issues facing the industry with a special focus on the future. CD Publisher Chris Weiss, who also serves as a member of the steering committee, was in attendance.

With all 12 members of the steering committee present, it guaranteed a series of thought-provoking discussions, which covered new revenue opportunities, a review of the TLPA’s strategic plan against the TNCs, and legislative talk. However, one of the most engrossing discussions dealt with autonomous cars, and the role of the luxury ground transportation market in this emerging market. Currently, Google’s Waymo subsidiary is testing fully autonomous vehicles in the Phoenix market, which means, in effect, that the future is now; however, TLPA CEO Al LaGasse is optimistic that our industry will not be shut out.

“It’s premature to say we have no role,” he said. “The TLPA needs to study this and get involved more. We need to participate in the policy debates, so people think of us as a player in autonomous vehicles. We don’t know what the opportunity in this is right now, but we need to keep our options open so that we can become a player, however we participate.”

The TLPA Steering Committee (L to R): Ira Goldstein of the New York Black Car Fund, Matt Assolin of Nikko's Worldwide, Berj Haroutunian of Vital Transportation, TLPA President Mike Pinkard, Lorraine Wilde of Go Airport Shuttle & Executive Car, TLPA CEO Al LaGasse, Sam Amato of Gateway Global, Mike Fogarty of TriStar Worldwide, and Tom Arrighi of A&A Metro Transportation (Not present: Terry O'Toole of Transdev)The steering committee also got brought up to speed on TLPA’s plans for 2018. As the association looks toward “tomorrow,” a new bimonthly newsletter—Innovations—will launch in February with a concentration on autonomous vehicles, technology platforms, and new operating systems. But LaGasse wants readers to know that this isn’t solely a tech-heavy publication.

“Innovation is not limited to technology,” he said. “Anything is fair game.”  

Also in the planning stages for release later in the year is a TLPA podcast that will offer interviews and discussions with members. What’s more, the association has lowered its dues and restructured member services so that all members will receive each of the TLPA publications and information offerings.

“The industry is changing,” said LaGasse. “The distinct lines are devolving between paratransit, limousine, and taxi—the regulatory lines, the operations lines—everything is evolving. We have members in all three of those lines of business. We’re all in the local passenger ground transportation business, and we think all of our members should be aware of what’s happening in all of our market segments.”

Look for a full recap of the Steering Committee meeting in the March issue of Chauffeur Driven.

Visit tlpa.org for more information

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