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Ats hero
• Mar 19, 2024

Ed Farrell started his small family-run business Alternative Transportation Systems (ATS) in 2004 with one wheelchair accessible vehicle and a vision to provide freedom through accessible transportation to those they serve across their shared community.

Today, ATS serves all New England with nearly 100 vehicles and as many employees, including 80 drivers and several Farrell family members. In the ensuing years, ATS expanded their scope of services offered beyond chair car services to include luxury, black car services, shuttle services and private charters services — all tailored to customer needs. The company has driven customers more than 14 million miles, or 562 times around the globe… so far.

What hasn't changed in that time is the company's primary goal.

"It's transportation, yes, from A to B, but the real product in that is making a difference in somebody's day, helping to make it the best part of our customers' day," Ed said.

ATS has had an important banking relationship with TD Bank to help drive its growth since the company's inception. In gratitude for their business and long-standing commitment to the greater New England community, the bank honored ATS during its seventh Small Business Takeover night with the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston. ATS "took over" the bank’s multiple ad spaces and executive suite at TD Garden when the Bruins battled the San Jose Sharks on the ice earlier this season.

“TD is glad to recognize ATS' contribution to the many New England communities it serves through door-to-door transportation services by donating advertising space throughout the arena during a game,” explained Renee Durning, Small Business Relationship Manager in Burlington, Massachusetts.

With TD Bank’s digital ad space converted to ATS for the night, the company got extensive name exposure among the 18,000 seated fans attending the game. In addition, it received hundreds of thousands of social media impressions via TD Bank’s close partnership with the Bruins.

ATS' family of colleagues who attended the event were thrilled with the opportunity to see their hometown team from the TD suite.

“We invited about 15 associates who’ve been with us the longest or have made significant contributions over the years to join us in the executive suite,” Ed said. “Thanks to TD Bank, it was a magical and most memorable night for all of us.”

Building on a vision for 20 years

In the early days, Ed used just one new black Ford Crown Victoria to offer exceptionally personal door-to-door service to customers in and around Arlington, a suburb of Boston.

“Given our family’s own experiences with other car services, I saw a clear need for doing it much better,” he recalled. “And, to our good fortune, we found that this need existed in practically every other New England community, as well.”

With TD Bank’s support of his vision, Ed’s desire to consistently provide the very best personal transportation possible fueled the company’s growth.

“We started our relationship with TD Bank about when we started the company,” Ed said. “It's really easy to do business with the bank because its people are so knowledgeable and attentive. They also have stores throughout New England with convenient hours, and they even make house calls, coming to us with financing paperwork.”

The wheelchair service is an especially important part of the company’s ethos. Drivers are federally certified to conduct safe and comfortable wheelchair transportation.

“In doing so, we provide more than transportation,” said Chris Farrell, Ed’s son and the company’s general manager. “Our drivers, whom we consider extended family, live within the communities they serve. With our vehicles and especially our wheelchair services, they provide a vital link to the care, community and quality of life for our neighbors.”

He adds that this link is part of what makes ATS a great place to work. “Among our drivers and customer service team especially, you have the opportunity to be the best part of someone’s day.”

Click to zoom

Family and community spirit drives success

The priority that ATS places on serving all community members echoes the same emphasis that defines TD in its relationships.

This family and community spirit is the foundation of the ATS brand and reputation. Over the years, its dedication to philanthropic service has taken many forms — sharing its financial success with cash donations, in-kind services and education. For example, the firm’s ASE-Certified Master Mechanics team works with local high school students who are training the auto repair services.

“We operate our own top-of-the-line vehicle repair facility where the students can get hands-on experience, guided by master mechanics,” said ATS Chief Operations Officer Steve Skiffington, who joined the company 16 years ago.

Sheryl McQuade, TD Bank Regional President for New England Metro, sees ATS as having solid ties with the communities it serves as a hallmark of a good business.

“While giving back and showing up in meaningful ways is a responsibility of businesses of all sizes, it’s the small- and medium-sized ones like the Farrell family’s business that are the foundation of our local economies," she said. "It's why TD Bank goes out of its way to support smaller businesses with the kind of personalized service these businesses offer to their own customers."

TD Bank's Small Business Takeover initiative began in 2017 to promote New England small businesses on a larger scale at TD Garden during a Boston Bruins home game. On the day of the event, TD Bank turns over all possible advertising "real estate" to a local small business, including the 360 LED screens, dasher boards, video walls, roster card and TD Bank corporate suite in addition to digital support from Bruins social channels. Previous participants of the initiative include Energy Shield of New Hampshire, Black Earth Composting, Day's Jewelers, The Barkery, Bay State Cruise Company and Sunbug Solar.

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