TLPA names United Taxi owner Nick Cambas “Operator of the Year”
The Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA), the nation’s leading passenger transportation industry trade association, has announced that Pinellas County’s own Nick Cambas has been named 2016 Operator of the Year. Below is the article from TLPA.
Nick Cambas’s Florida roots go deep—-never mind that he was born in Washington. The D.C. native moved to Clearwater as a child, where his family of new arrivals grew into old hands in Florida transportation.
“In the late ’70s, I was the kid pumping gas at the fuel station that served the taxi com- pany my grandfather founded,” he says. Cambas is the third generation of his family to work in the taxicab industry in the Sunshine State. “My grandfather began with the acquisition of an eight-vehicle fleet operated by Yellow Cab of Clearwater. He was a great businessman and a visionary leader, and he gave me opportunities to work my way up the ladder. I drove airport shuttle vans, answered phones in communications, and worked
in driver services.”
Forty years later, Cambas owns Bay Area Metro, operating as United Taxi, and runs a fleet of more than 125 sedans and minivans serving the Clearwater area. For his innovation and decades-long dedication to community, Nick Cambas is TLPA’s 2016 Taxicab Operator of the Year.
Judy Swystun, who operates transportation companies in Norfolk, Va., nominated Cambas.
“Nick has been in the taxicab industry his entire life,” she says. “He has not only adapted to the changes—from voice dispatch to computer dispatch and now implementing his own app in his local area—but has also looked for innovative ways to promote taxicab use.”
Earlier this year, the Tampa Bay Times reported on Cambas’ innovative partnership with Pinellas County transportation authorities to address what the paper called the “‘first mile, last mile’ problem—bridging the sometimes considerable distance between bus stops and customers’ destinations.”
“Outstanding management comes from compassionate professionals”
— Nick Cambas
Working with the county, United Taxi ensured that riders received discounted fares. He even created a smartphone app to make booking trips easier—and some say he beat the rideshare companies at their own game.
“Unlike Uber, the cabs accept cash or credit card payments,” the Tampa Bay Times relayed. “Not everyone has a smart phone to pay for rides,” Cambas says.
Understanding his community’s needs doesn’t stop at transportation. Cambas is also known locally for his charitable efforts.
“Nick’s company is generous,” Swystun says. “They give back to the community.”
That’s an understatement; Cambas, who proudly advertises that United Taxi supports faith-based charitable organizations, has gone so far as to provide free rides for intoxicated patrons at bars, on request from participating establishments. He figures that will help reduce drunk driving. And on Sundays, United Taxi offers “Wheels to Worship,” once again providing free transportation, this time to churchgoers in need.
“Our company maintains meaningful commitment to community and we are proud to support a number of civic and charitable organizations,” Cambas says. “That’s the key. Outstanding management comes from compassionate professionals.”
Last November, the United Taxi team participated in a hunger drive, packaging 20,000 healthy meals through Feeding Children Everywhere for underprivileged youth in the Tampa area. The management, staff and drivers all showed up to give their support.
“There is nothing quite so powerful as working side by side with your team to provide nutritious meals for those in to provide nutritious meals for those in need,” Cambas says. “Our welcome sign says ‘United Taxi, where everyone is family,’ and we mean it. Over the years, many of my immediate family members have worked with me in the transportation industry. At present, none of my relatives work within the industry, but several members of our management team and I have worked closely together for more than 30 years. This longevity and familiarity fosters a family atmosphere within the company.”
That’s how Cambas views the wider community as well. And in an era when technology has presented some challenges to traditional transportation players, United Taxi has leveraged changes to
“The growing popularity of public-private partnerships in transportation has provided exciting opportunities for taxi companies to contract with government agencies to improve service to people who are in need of subsidized service,” says Cambas, whose company also uses apps to facilitate booking. “As industry professionals, we are equipped to provide innovative transportation solutions, providing better service to passengers, saving taxpayer dollars and creating business opportunities for drivers.”
Cambas wants to continue growing and innovating for years to come. “What distinguishes United Taxi from others is our team, which is remarkable for its longevity, breadth and depth of experience, and shared commitment to values,” he says. “My philosophy echoes my grandfather’s and incorporates our core values: dedicated focus on safety, quality service, and communication conducted with integrity, respect and compassion.”
In recognition of exceptional dedication to professionalism, customer service and safety, the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association is proud to honor Nick Cambas, United Taxi, Clearwater, FL, as the 2016 TLPA Taxicab Operator of the Year.
Established in 1917, the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) is a non-profit trade association of and for the private passenger transportation industry. With an extensive membership that spans the globe to include 1,000 taxicab companies, executive sedan and limousine services, airport shuttle fleets, non-emergency medical transportation companies, and paratransit services, TLPA is the leading information, education, and legislative resource in the passenger transportation industry.