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New Haven Business Leader Named President of Major International Transportation Association
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Bill Scalzi, Owner of Metro Taxi Who Pioneered Wheelchair Vehicle Service in Connecticut, Takes the Helm of World’s Largest For-Hire Fleet Association
(ROCKVILLE, Md.) - Bill Scalzi remembers fondly how, as a teenager, the head mechanic at his father’s taxi company in Meriden, Connecticut, taught him how to fix an engine.
That was four decades ago. Yesterday, Scalzi, the president of Metro Taxi in New Haven, reached a pinnacle in professional recognition when he was sworn in as president of the world’s oldest and largest trade association of the for-hire vehicle industry, the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA).
Started in 1917, the TLPA was founded by John Hertz, who later went on to found Hertz Rental Car. As president, Scalzi will have the distinct honor of shepherding the trade association through its 100th
year of operation. The association’s presidents are elected from within its 1,000 members—comprised of small, medium and large transportation fleets—to serve a one-year term.
“If John Hertz were here today, he wouldn’t believe the industry changes: Cell phones that can call a cab without human intervention; the ability to watch a car approach on a handheld screen; live video streaming from vehicles to monitor safety,” Scalzi said in his acceptance speech yesterday in a packed convention room in Phoenix, Arizona, host of TLPA’s Annual Convention & Trade Show. “Every time a challenge has come along, we have adapted and innovated, and we have maintained a leadership role in our industry. We’ve done it for 100 remarkable years, and we’ll do it for 100 more.”
Scalzi bought Metro Taxi in New Haven when he was just 29 years old, starting with 15 cars. Today, Metro Taxi has 160 taxis, making it the largest fleet in Connecticut. During decades of growth, Scalzi brought natural gas vehicles into his fleet, opened the state’s first public CNG filling stations, and advocated tirelessly to change state law so that he could include wheelchair accessible taxis in his fleet. More than half of his company’s vehicles are now wheelchair accessible, one of the largest such fleets in the country.