By Maxine Janerka
Blogs are a great way for the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) to impart useful, fun and relevant information to its members. As part of its Fleet Forward initiative to help inform members and the public about the myriad positive aspects of the industry, TLPA has published numerous blogs over the past year on a range of topics.
Whether we’re talking about member achievements, cool history, or the results or our fun (albeit unscientific) Twitter polls, we have plenty to say. Our blogs are all available on the TLPA website (www.tlpa.org), of course, but here is a highlight reel of what we think are the “best of the best” so far in 2017. After all, it’s been quite a year: Our 100th.
Have you heard of 3 Taxi Guys BBQ Sauce? It turns out that in addition to being delicious on ribs, it has quite an interesting story behind it. The founders, Rick Hewatt, Jamie Campolongo, and John Lazar, really are taxi guys who turned their attention—and friendly competition—to the consumables market. And they know how to have fun—after all, these are the guys who turned a taxi into an actual working, portable BBQ grill.
Hewatt is president of Atlanta Checker Cab and a former president of TLPA. Campolongo, another former TLPA president, heads up Pittsburgh Transportation Group. Lazar runs Luxor Cab in San Francisco and sits on TLPA’s board of directors.
The results of one of TLPA’s first forays into Twitter polling is immortalized in this blog post. Out of almost 1,000 respondents, a healthy plurality (33%) voted for yellow taxis, with black cabs coming in second with 28% of the vote and green taxis taking third with 21%. The remaining 18% of respondents cast their votes for some other color. TLPA runs these polls every month, so drop by our Twitter feed—
@TLPAtweet—and voice your opinion on this month’s topic!
Green is the next big thing now, but that’s a fairly recent trend. TLPA’s members have been saving the planet way before it was cool. Mike Pinckard of Total Transit in Phoenix, Bill Scalzi of Metro Taxi Connecticut, and former head of Radio Taxi in London, Geoffrey Riesel, are highlighted here for their contributions, with everything from compressed natural gas vehicles to carbon neutral commitments.
It’s been a century since TLPA was founded, so it’s no surprise that there are some fun facts about the organization that fall through the cracks. While it’s pretty likely that our members know that TLPA is the largest trade organization in the for-hire transportation industry, how many of us know that TLPA has gone by four different names, that John Hertz of Hertz Rent-a-Car co-founded TLPA, or that while the organization is 100 years old, it has only had 99 trade conventions? (Gas rations during World War I account for the one missing convention).
The Internet is full of stories about running into famous people in unexpected places, but these five celebrities really did drive taxis at some point in their lives.
Composer Philip Glass
“West Wing” actor Jimmy Smits
comedian Larry David
KISS singer Paul Stanley drove taxis in New York City
Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet drove in Chicago.
So, if you love the for-hire transportation industry as much as we do, be sure to check out our blogs at www.tlpa.org/Fleet-Forward-Blog. We write them every week, and we share them on social media (find us on Facebook and follow us at @TLPAtweet on Twitter). You’ll learn amazing new things about the industry, and what keeps driving us “Fleet Forward!”
—Maxine Janerka is with Melwood Global, the public relations firm of record for the TLPA.