With the restructuring of our dues for 2018, we’re interviewing members who’ve chosen the Leadership membership-service level to hear what they have to say about their work and what TLPA does for their companies.
For Bill Rouse, the TLPA has always been a family affair.
His company has been a member of the TLPA since before it was the TLPA, going back to when it was known as the American Taxi Association. Since then, his grandfather served as president in the 1950s, as did his father in 1996. Rouse himself held the post in 2013.
Rouse runs the L.A. Yellow Cab Co-Op, an organization operating five fleets in the L.A. area totaling more than 1,250 cars. The fleets, which include Yellow Cab of L.A., the single largest fleet in California, are co-ops, which means they are driver-owned organizations.
What’s most interesting about the L.A. Yellow Cab Co-Op may not be its past as much as how the company focuses on the future. For more than 30 years, the organization has partnered with a tech company called National Taxi Services. During this time, they have had the resources to innovate on their own. Now, through the co-op’s TLPA membership, they are also helping companies around the country move their fleets forward.
Take, for instance, some of the projects the co-op and its partner are currently working on. They are experimenting with ways to adapt taxi services to keep pace with the ride-hail demand. This includes apps with unique features, like discounted rates for using credit cards. Also, one of their larger projects includes creating a soft meter technology. What’s more, they have been focused on creating asset-light vehicles, hoping to minimize the huge overhead costs that have traditionally gone into taxis.
The co-op’s focus on innovation is a big part of why it is a TLPA member.
“We’re committed as a company to consistently try new things and test them to see what works, as opposed to resting on our laurels and sticking to what we know,” Rouse said. “Still, there’s work that needs to be done collectively. Through TLPA, we accomplish legislative work, meetings where members can talk to each other or share ideas for how they can improve their business. TLPA provides a place for us to connect with vendors who are also interested in innovating, and those things cannot be done individually. Those things have to be done by a trade association. We’ve never believed we were not getting value out of the trade association.”
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