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The BATS Taxi Company Story . . .
BATS: The Early Years
Jerry and I moved here from Vermont in 1980. We had a hard time finding a job when we moved here. Jerry was in graduate school earning his masters degree in Public Administration and I was a student at St. Pete Jr. College. I worked at a convenience store and Jerry worked at a gas station.
We started a van service to Tampa Airport. (We started with $800, a prayer and a distinctive logo that stood out.) The $800 belonged to the IRS and we got it through a mistake in our taxes and eventually had to pay it back! Our attorney came up with the “catchy” Beach Airport Transport Service that became BATS. Our first office was in my sister’s beauty salon on St. Pete Beach!
BATS City Transit
In the scheme of all this, Jerry saw that the public bus service contract was up for bid in St. Pete Beach. We won the contract with a ridiculously low bid and had the bus contract for over sixteen years: BATS City Transit. We saved the City of St. Pete Beach some $6.8 million dollars during this time.
BATS: Birthing the CAB and Town Car business
We had a van driver by the name of Jamie Fiore who worked for us. Jamie frequently talked with us about starting a cab company. (He was a cab starter at Tampa Airport.) After a time we decided we could start another company, with a family loan we started the cab company, which is Bay Area Taxi Service, Inc. At one time we had some five different companies within the transportation realm. It was only natural we would eventually have an executive town car service (Bay Area Town Car Service).
BATS: The people and drivers behind the company
Our children Rene and Jerry II grew up in the cab business literally… their playpen, and their swing were all part of the office. It was not anything for a driver to come in and pick up a crying baby while Jerry or I were on the phones or dispatching! The driver’s saw us through two pregnancies and watched our children become young adults. In doing so they became part of their lives.
They became part of science projects, participated in Rene’s outstanding “vocal performances”, and attended Jerry’s Little League games, to name just a few of the activities of our children. Some drivers became dispatchers, mechanics and general managers! Our drivers became our extended family.
We often worked some 60 to 80 hours per week each during those difficult years. We had family members that came and went but we stuck it out. We remember “very well” eating a lot of spaghetti!
BATS: You are part of our history and our future!
We appreciate the lean times and we appreciate all of you who made BATS possible. We hope that this small history lesson of the company for which you are part, gives you some insight as to our fortitude and longevity in the industry.
Jerry & Carol Vallee
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