The first taxi operation in Connecticut is again expanding the envelop of its industry!
December 15, 2012
By Paula Pierce, The Windsor Journal
The Yellow Cab Company, a Hartford business that traces its origin in 1878, is in the process of “greening” its fleet, a course other cab companies around the country are only now starting to contemplate.
The company is replacing its 107 taxis with a new breed of mass transportation vehicles that use natural gas instead of diesel, in a project that political leaders around the state hailed last week as both economically far-sighted and socially responsible – a rare combination in business.
“Why are you doing it?” we asked on Thursday the president of the company, Marco Henry.
“We want to reduce pollution, but it also makes sense money-wise to do so,” he answered. “The natural gas is a lot cleaner, the cars last longer operating with it, their maintenance is less, and the cost of fuel is less for the driver.”
In fact, according to calculations, taxi drivers will be paying about $2.63 for natural gas equivalent to a gallon of diesel, saving almost a dollar per gallon – and summer is not here yet, when gas prices start rising.
So, why haven’t all taxi companies converted to natural gas? we asked.
“We tried before, in 1998,” Henry explained. “The problem then was that we didn’t have the infrastructure. It’s a chicken-and-egg situation – which comes first. You need consumers, and you need the providers and it’s tough sometimes to do it at the same time.”
The difference, this time around, was Clean Energy, a T. Boon Pikkens company. Pikkens is staunch in his support of natural gas, and he is gradually convincing the industry and the political leadership to support him in putting the infrastructure in place. The company has already built eight natural gas stations around Connecticut, one of them on the lot of Yellow Cab’s facility in Bloomfield. The aim is mainly to provide taxis with fuel, but the station will also be ready to service anybody with a similar car.
“We had a couple of phone calls asking us when we open, because they had a couple of CNG cars, and they want a place to fill up – until now the only place would be Brainard Road in Hartford,” said Sean LaChapelle, general manager of Yellow Cab.
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