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In 1917, a small group of taxicab operators met in Washington, D.C. and formed the National Association of Taxicab Owners (NATO). NATO was born of the need to protect operators from the encroachment of the Federal government, which proposed to levy a 5% tax on the gross receipts of all companies operating three or more taxicabs. The new association presented its views before Congress and the legislation was not adopted. Originally based in Chicago, NATO's first president was John Boobar, president of the Terminal Taxicab Company in Washington, DC. Another of the founding members was John Hertz, president of Yellow Cab in Chicago, who later founder Hertz Rent-a-Car.
Travel restrictions during World War I prevented regular meetings until January 1919 when the first national meeting of NATO was held. Topics on the agenda for this meeting included credit – should it be extended or encouraged; the auditor's view of the taxicab; the manufacturer's view of the taxicab; and the taxicab driver – subjects to this day that continue to be industry issues and receive attention in breakout sessions at TLPA's conferences.
The taxicab industry encountered severe financial difficulties during the Great Depression - yet NATO survived. In 1938, the Cab Research Bureau was formed. Based in Cleveland, the Cab Research Bureau was developed to compile and provide statistical information on the industry, rate information, and interpretation and analysis of operations data. Four years later, the Cab Research Bureau became affiliated with the National Association of Taxicab Owners.
In 1942, a second national organization called the American Taxicab Association (ATA) was formed to represent the newer, smaller taxicab companies in the United States. Charles Ossman of Madison, Wisconsin served as the first president of ATA. Both NATO and ATA were very active during World War II as a result of wartime conditions that required priorities to maintain and service equipment and to efficiently utilize the equipment in providing wartime transportation.
The postwar years saw the widespread adoption of the two-way radio, considered the greatest innovation in the taxicab industry since the taximeter. This technology revolutionized dispatching and the industry. In 1947, NATO and ATA formed a joint committee to deal with the problems created by the proliferation of requests for radio frequencies within the industry.
In October 1966, representatives of NATO and ATA met in Bal Harbour, Florida, and merged their organizations into one, forming the International Taxicab Association (ITA). The officers and board of directors were elected from the United States and Canada and represented large, medium, and small companies. Jerry Wilson, General Manager of Yellow Cab of Denver served as the first ITA President.
In 1975, the first convention of the International Taxicab Association was held in Toronto, Canada. In 1976, ITA moved its base of operations from Chicago to the suburban Washington DC community of Kensington, Maryland, in order be in closer proximity to the federal government.
In 1990, ITA made the historic decision to add Livery to its name, marking the diversification of the association's representation to include all for-hire providers of local ground transportation. Immediately following, the association created three membership divisions for its members in 1991 that still form the basis of the organization today. The Taxicab Division focuses on meeting the needs of taxicab companies, the Limousine & Sedan Division represents companies the provide upscale transportation service, and the Paratransit & Contracting Division concentrates on meeting the needs of paratransit and non-emergency medical transportation services.
In October 2000, by overwhelming membership vote at its 83rd Annual Convention & Trade Show, the International Taxicab & Livery Association became the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association. This new name more clearly identifies the different types of transportation companies the association has grown to encompass.
Today, TLPA represents the interests of airport shuttle, executive sedan, limousine, non-emergency medical transportation, paratransit, and taxicab fleets. TLPA is the largest trade organization in the industry, with members operating over 100,000 vehicles and serving 900 million passengers per year.