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Virginia Paratransit Leader Takes Reins of National Transportation Organization

Robert M. Werth, Springfield, VA, a leader in accessible transportation for more than three decades, has taken the helm of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) as its new president.
 
Werth, a native of Falls Church, Virginia, is the founder and president of Diamond Transportation Services, Inc., one of the largest wheelchair-accessible fleets in the mid-Atlantic region.  He was sworn into office at the TLPA’s 95th Annual Convention & Trade Show in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 30. The TLPA presidency is a one-year term. Werth takes over following the presidency of William J. Rouse of L.A. Yellow Cab Co-Op in Los Angeles, California.
 
After receiving his bachelor degree from Virginia Tech, Werth worked as a social studies teacher in Roanoke, Virginia, where he also coached basketball and baseball. He later returned to Virginia Tech where he received his MBA. While finishing his graduate studies he became a marketing executive for a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
 
Werth accepted a position as the General Manager of the Diamond Cab Companies of Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, in 1980 and later became Vice-President of both Diamond and Yellow Cab. In 1984, Werth established his own company, Diamond Transportation, where he found his true career path serving persons with disabilities. Starting from a single vehicle, Diamond now consists of over 130 vehicles with nearly 230 employees serving more than 300,000 passenger trips each year.
 
Werth said life has been shaped by his mother’s unwavering commitment to civil rights in the 1960s and what he termed her “philosophy of humanism.” His commitment to carrying on that philosophy led him to be a part of history when he was asked to attend the historic signing of the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990.
 
Werth has continued his involvement with the taxicab industry, training taxicab drivers for the City of
Alexandria in sensitivity awareness and in the District of Columbia for the DC Accessible Taxicab Service.  He is past President and current Vice-President of the Virginia Taxicab Association. He also serves as the current Chair of the Private Providers Task Force for the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments.
 
In today’s transportation industry, Werth sees a new challenge brewing: that of rogue transportation apps such as Uber, Lyft and SideCar that choose which passengers to pick up, which neighborhoods to serve, and which do not submit to the same oversight as licensed carriers in terms of driver background checks, insurance, or wheelchair accessibility. Werth urged TLPA members to push back against this tide of rogue transportation.
 
“Rally your businesses and communities to innovate,” Werth said at the annual gathering of the nearly 100-year-old trade association founded by taxicab and rental car industry icon John Hertz. “Fight for the rights of the licensed, regulated TLPA carrier. Together, we need to fight the battle for our companies and our communities.”
 
Werth said that his agenda for the next year also includes: promoting the TLPA’s online driver education program; promoting “Community Connections,” the TLPA’s charitable giving program, and for which Werth challenged his peers to raise $3 million in donations and donated services in the coming year; promoting the association’s Transportation on Patrol program; advocating for a national criminal background check for drivers; educating members on the new Federal Transit Reauthorization Bill, MAP-21; and encouraging growth and diversity among TLPA membership.
 
About TLPA:
Established in 1917, the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) is a non-profit trade association of and for the private passenger transportation industry. Its extensive membership spans the globe to include 1,100 taxicab companies, executive sedan and limousine services, airport shuttle fleets, non-emergency medical transportation companies, and paratransit services. For more information, please visit www.tlpa.org.


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