top of page

TLPF History

In 1987, under the guidance of John Hall of Arkansas and John Davidson of California, the International Taxicab and Livery Association (ITLA) established the International Taxicab Foundation (ITF) as a U.S.-approved non-profit foundation. John Hall was the first TLPF president followed by Mr. Davidson. Subsequent presidents have been Ham Smyth III from Tennessee; Neal Nichols from Virginia; Larry Slagle from California; and our current president, Ellis Houston from Alabama.


TLPF Scholarship Program

In 1992, the Foundation initiated a scholarship program, based on merit and need, for students engaged in graduate or undergraduate studies which would further their careers in the taxicab and paratransit industries. The for-hire vehicle industry was, and will continue to be, in need of individuals whose education and academic training will better equip them to meet the continuing demands that are placed on our industry. In the first decade of its existence, the Foundation provided nearly $24,000 in scholarship assistance. Unfortunately, few of the recipients actually pursued careers in our industry.


Transportation Management Institute

In 1996, the TLPF, in cooperation with the TLPA, announced the formation of the Transportation Management Institute (TMI), a management training program of separate, stand-alone courses, each lasting a few days, and each focusing on a specific operational or management function. The Transportation Management Institute was established to meet the needs of the taxicab, limousine, sedan, airport shuttle, paratransit and non-emergency medical industry for comprehensive and specialized training for mid- and senior-level management personnel in the various aspects of managing a transportation company.


The initial TMI course, Dispatching and Communications, was held at Transportation General, Arlington, VA, in November 1996, followed by Maintenance Training held in Houston, Texas, April 1997. In total, TLPF offered 19 courses over an eight-year time span.


  • Communications & Dispatching (2)

  • Dispatching & Call Center Management (1)

  • Maintenance Training (3)

  • Risk Management (2)

  • Sales & Marketing Management (3)

  • Dealing with the Media (2)

  • Cutting Edge Technology (2)

  • Human Resources Management (1)

  • New & Emerging Options in Dispatch Technology (1)

Past Foundation Activities


TLPF History Project

TLPF is funding the TLPF History Project, which is attempting to compile as many written and oral stories as we can to document the history of our industry in the United States and of the development and growth of the TLPA and TLPF.


Financially, the Foundation started off modestly with a small contribution from the Association. Then, in 1990, we received a generous contribution from the estate of long-time member Herman R. Tate of California (with the assistance of John Davidson) to establish a college scholarship program for students committed to enter the taxicab business and to sponsor public policy research to promote our industry. It has been the interest from Mr. Tate's nearly one-half million-dollar contribution and on-going contributions from members like you and I that has given the Foundation a sufficient corpus to generate interest income to support our annual programs. In recent years, the key fundraising event for the Foundation has been the Annual Gateway Insurance Golf Tournament. Over the past 10 years, the tournament has contributed over $60,000 to the Foundation, about 50 percent of which is attributable to Gateway's sponsorship.


The 2009 Gateway Insurance Golf Tournament to benefit the TLPF was held on Saturday, October 3 at the Angel Park Golf Club in Las Vegas. We had 52 players, which was a slight decrease from the number of players in recent years. The tournament is a tremendous amount of fun and a painless way for you to support your Foundation. I hope many of you will join us next year in Los Angeles. For those of you that don't golf, you are more than welcome to sponsor one of the holes under your company name for as little as $150.00. Finally, please remember the Foundation not only in your annual charitable giving, but also in your estate planning. It is a chance to give back to the industry that has made most of us a good living for many years.


At the TLPF meeting in Tampa, Ellis Houston, Birmingham Yellow Cab, Birmingham, Alabama, was chosen as the new TLPF President, succeeding Larry Slagle, Yellow Cab of Greater Orange County, Anaheim, California, who had served as TLPF President since November 2005.


In 2008, the Foundation funded a study by the University of Missouri-St. Louis on the full cost to a taxicab company of implementing an accessible taxicab program. Dr. Ray Mundy presented the preliminary results of this study at a breakout session during the TLPA Annual Convention in Tampa. The final results of this study was scheduled to be available to TLPA members in 2009.


The TLPF Board also agreed to fund a TLPA History Project. It was noted that the Gorman Gilbert- Bob Samuels book, The Taxicab - An Urban Transportation Survivor, was published in 1982 and gives some history but some of the anecdotes; the real color of the industry, could be lost forever, if not captured as a living history account. TLPF hopes that this project can begin in 2009.


In 2007, TLPF issued a contract to Dr. Mundy, to develop a paper Study of the Full Cost of Implementing An Accessible Taxicab Program. This paper is nearly complete and will be available at no cost for TLPA members to download from the Resource Center area of the Members Only section of the TLPA web site in December 2009.


In 2006, TLPF produced two additional products that will be valuable resources for TLPA members for years to come. TLPF commissioned Dr. Ray Mundy of the University of Missouri-St. Louis to develop two research papers. The first, Independent Contractor Taxicab Drivers focuses on the value that independent contractor drivers bring to the transportation industry and how regulatory provisions can serve to enhance the service provided by independent contractor taxicab drivers. The paper goes into depth explaining the impact that different types of regulatory environments have on independent contractor driver performance and service delivery. Several examples illustrating the various dimensions that define the work environment in which independent contractor drivers operate are included. The paper provides an assessment of the regulatory mechanisms that define their legal presences, and is supplemented by examples to identify the impact of regulatory ordinances and contractual obligations on their market performance and behavior. It examines why drivers choose to become independent contractors, and why companies choose to use independent contractors. Case studies from two U.S. cities are included to highlight the independent contractor driver's role as part of transit and social service agency transportation. The paper concludes by emphasizing the very significant contributions of independent contractor drivers and their strategic advantage to the transportation industry as a whole.


The second research paper, Benefits of a Full Service Taxicab Company to the Taxicab Industry and Consumers focuses on the value that full service transportation companies provide to a community and what regulatory provisions serve to strengthen full service companies. TLPF's objective was to produce a document that members can present to regulators to educate them about how the taxicab industry operates with independent contractor drivers. Often, when a member describes his operations or argues against misconceptions espoused by regulators and consultants, his remarks are viewed as self-serving. This paper seeks to distinguish these different business models and critically evaluates the regulatory mechanisms that characterize such market structures. The paper begins with a brief introduction of the present economic environment in the United States followed by a detailed examination of the different business models that exist in the market. This is accompanied by an exhaustive assessment of the problems that plague the taxicab industry and the underlying causes for the same. Utilizing a theoretical framework accompanied by numerous case studies, a detailed comparison of the different business models is presented - with special focus on the functional criterions that define taxicab service and customer requirements. The paper concludes by emphasizing the urgent need for local regulatory authorities to reassess their present taxicab market structures and initiate changes in the legal framework (ordinances) that support the adoption of the full service taxicab company model.


Both of the University of Missouri-St. Louis products complement the DVD, "Fair Taxicab Regulation at Work" developed and produced for the Foundation by the Institute for Transportation Research & Education (ITRE) at North Carolina State University.


In 2005, TLPF contracted with Institute for Transportation Research & Education, North Carolina State University to develop the video Fair Taxicab Regulation at Work. Members of the TLPF and TLPA Boards of Directors raised $45,000 in contributions to reduce the direct cost of producing this video to the Foundation. The purpose of the video is to promote fair taxicab regulation to better taxicab service in every city. Fair Taxicab Regulation at Work points out that city officials and passengers share the same goals when it comes to taxi service: adequate service to all areas and types of passengers, including seniors and those in residential neighborhoods; use of the latest technology to improve service; newer cleaner cars that are well maintained; a reasonable wait before pick-up; fair and consistent rates; and safe, dependable operators.


The white papers are available at no cost for TLPA members to download from the Resource Center area of the Members Only section of the TLPA web site The Fair Taxicab Regulation at Work DVD can be purchased from the Studies and Reports page of our web site.


Katrina Relief

Also, in 2005, TLPF joined with a TLPA-led Katrina relief effort, which raised nearly $46,000. The TLPA/TLPF Katrina Disaster Relief fund dedicated to assisting TLPA member companies, owners, workers and their families personally impacted by Katrina received $20,650 in donations. These funds were divided among four TLPA member companies, two in Mississippi, one in New Orleans and one in Alabama. In addition to these funds, TLPA members contributed $25,300 to be contributed to the relief efforts headed by well-respected national charities, with $6,800 donated to the American Red Cross, $9,500 to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, and $9,000 to The Salvation Army.


In 2004, TLPF contracted Dr. Ray Mundy, Director of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis to develop a white paper Using Independent Contractor Drivers. The paper emphasizes the significant contributions of independent contractor drivers and their strategic advantage to the transportation industry as a whole. Subsequently, Dr. Mundy wrote a follow-up white paper Benefits of a Full Service Taxicab Company to the Community and Consumers. This paper provides in-depth information that demonstrates the effects of poor taxicab regulation on the community and its citizens and the positive effects of fair taxicab regulation.


White Papers and Videos

In a 2003 TLPF Board meeting, then Foundation President Neal Nichols stated, "The purpose of giving money to the Foundation is giving money to something that can advance the environment of the industry in which we made our money." The Foundation Board decided that the Transportation Management Institute seminars were not meeting this need to "advance the environment of the industry." The discussion focused on independent contractor drivers and why it is good public policy to use independent contractor drivers. It was decided to develop a video and a seminar on the topic. A paper, Using Independent Contractor Drivers was written by Dr. Ray Mundy in 2004 for the TLPF. A video, Fair Taxicab Regulation at Work was released in 2005.

bottom of page