Yellow Cab News

Yellow Cab Grand Opening Set for December 9, 2011

November 29, 2011 Media

Compressed Natural Gas Fueling Station Opens at The Yellow Cab Company in Bloomfield for Public, CNG-powered Taxi Fleet

Opening Will Feature New CNG-powered Wheelchair-Friendly Taxis

BLOOMFIELD, CT — (November 29, 2011) A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:00 p.m. on Friday December 9, 2011 at The Yellow Cab Company’s Bloomfield headquarters will celebrate Hartford County’s first public access compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station, built and operated by Clean Energy. On hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony will be Congressman John Larson; CT House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey; Mike Scarpino, Clean Cities Regional Manager, U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory; and Connecticut Clean Cities Future Fuels Project (CTCCFF) visionaries including The Yellow Cab Company and Clean Energy.

As the company celebrates its 90th anniversary of the first taxi license granted in the State of Connecticut, we are re-positioning our legacy to lead Connecticut’s clean energy solution in the transportation sector,” according to company president Marco Henry. An award-winning, innovative leader in the taxi business, The Yellow Cab Company’s Henry pioneered green taxi fleet technology in 1998. He was the first taxi fleet owner in the nation to convert Honda Civics to CNG through a federal/DOE Clean Cities grant.

As Henry celebrates a 20-year milestone as the company’s president, he looks to the future with promise. In addition to the CNG Honda Civics and CNG Ford Transit Connects he welcomes to his service fleet, Henry will soon provide Greater Hartford’s first wheelchair-accessible taxi rides. The company will debut a fleet of purpose- built, wheelchair-friendly, ADA compliant, low emission taxis known as the “MV-1” ready to serve the Disability Community.

“Universally accessible 24-hour, on-demand, alternative fuel transport can and should play a strategic role in building the transportation infrastructure of Connecticut. Our CNG-powered taxis will reduce overhead fuel costs, significantly lessen harmful emissions for the environment and reduce our overall dependency on foreign oil,” Henry added. The new fuel station will serve anyone in the public operating a CNG vehicle. By year’s end, The Yellow Cab Company will deploy 110 new CNG taxis as part of this ambitious project.

“By 2012 the Yellow Cab CNG fleet is expected to displace about a half-million gallons of gasoline per year, and the environmental gains will only go up from there,” according to Lee Grannis Coordinator of the Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition and recipient of the USDOE grant. That equates to about 10 million pounds of Carbon Dioxide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, replacing 110 gasoline taxicabs with new clean-burning CNG cabs will remove more than 2,500 tons of greenhouse gases annually.

Clean Energy built the new station at The Yellow Cab Company‘s fleet facility at 86 Granby Road in Bloomfield as part of the Connecticut Clean Cities Future Fuels Project(CTCCFF). The station is the second of three to be opened in the state by Clean Energy as part of the statewide initiative.

Marco Henry and Yellow Cab have a long standing history of commitment to operating CNG fleets and they are dedicated to the expansion of alternative fuels in fleet services. We are pleased to be partnered with them as they once again make history,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy. “Adopting natural gas fuel for public taxi use, together with the deployment of new ADA-compliant CNG taxi vehicles, and making the infrastructure available to all vehicle and fleet operators spotlights Bloomfield as a hub for a new energy future in Connecticut.”

A public/private partnership, the CTCCFF is a coalition of forces and resources, featuring all four Connecticut Clean Cities Coalitions working together under nearly $13.2 million of funding from a U. S. Department of Energy Grant, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Project partners are providing over $16 million in non-federal cost share to the project. The Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition, Inc. (GNHCCC), together with more than 30 partner organizations are building a state-wide system that will eventually get 269 alternative fuels vehicles on the State’s roads through incremental funding and providing fueling capability for 21 additional fleet vehicles and the supporting infrastructure for vehicle deployments as part of the CTCCFF.

For more information on the Connecticut Clean Cities Future Fuels Project, contact Carla R. York, (423) 802-6190 or visit ct-futurefuels.com

Yellow Cab Considers Legal Options

November 3, 2011 Media

Upon reviewing the stunning announcement made by the Connecticut Department of Transporation last week to deny 100 percent of the additional taxi licenses sought by the company, Yellow Cab Company management will pursue legal action.

The Yellow Cab Company of Bloomfield Response to DOT Decision:

The Yellow Cab Company does not agree with the ruling of the DOT. We feel strongly that the hearing officer made many mistakes and misinterpreted some of the testimony.

We will appeal the decision to the DOT and pursue legal action in Superior Court.

The Yellow Cab Company is committed to offering “full access” on-demand transportation to all residents within our territory. The Yellow Cab Company believes that ALL residents of Connecticut, regardless of access needs, should have access to on-demand transportation when they need it.

In applying for the additional taxi licensure, The Yellow Cab Company had hoped to expand this exceptional service to towns not served in the Greater Hartford area.

The Yellow Cab Company will proceed to replace its fleet with full access vehicles operating on clean burning fuel. (CNG) We are committed to offer clean, full access transportation to all.

Today, The Yellow Cab Company is operating at full capacity. Our intent in this undertaking was to provide additional new service with our cabs to towns currently not served while expanding accessible taxi transport in our current territory to individuals with limited mobility. Because of the negative DOT ruling, this may slow our service to our regular riders.

In light of the negative ruling by the Connecticut DOT, The Yellow Cab Company will appeal the decision and petition the CT DOT for more licenses in the territories we seek to serve and provide the same quick response service that our customers are accustomed to.

DOT Permit Denied!

November 1, 2011 Media

November 1, 2011
By Arielle Levin Becker, The CT Mirror

The state Department of Transportation has denied the requests of two taxi companies for permits to add 70 wheelchair-accessible cabs to each of their fleets, ruling that the companies had not demonstrated the need for new permits and could instead replace existing vehicles with accessible ones.

The proposals by Metro Taxi of West Haven and The Yellow Cab Company of Bloomfield had drawn strong support from people with disabilities, who said there are few, if any, wheelchair-accessible options for on-demand transportation in the state. One man who uses a wheelchair spoke of having to scramble to find a ride to see his dying mother in the hospital on short notice, ultimately having to call a medical transport service.

But other cab companies opposed the proposal, arguing that while people with disabilities could use more transportation options, the companies did not need to increase the size of their fleets to provide them. Gregory S. Kimmel, an attorney for Casino Cab Company of Bridgeport, which opposed Metro Taxi’s application, said earlier this year that the proposal represented “an end-around way for them to try and get additional permits.”

In denying the applications, DOT Staff Attorney Laila A. Mandour noted that there is nothing preventing either company from replacing cabs in their existing fleets with wheelchair-accessible vehicles, which can serve people with or without disabilities. The owners of both companies said their fleets were already operating at capacity, but Mandour wrote that the evidence presented suggested that they could provide more rides.

“There is no dispute that access to transportation should be made available to all citizens of the State,” she wrote in the decision on Metro Taxi’s application. “However, an application for 70 vehicles to be added to the taxicab market is not the way to achieve the results that the witnesses spoke in favor of at the hearing”

Mandour also wrote that adding 70 cabs could destabilize the market. But she encouraged Metro Taxi and Yellow Cab to put accessible vehicles into service through their existing permits.

Both Metro Taxi and Yellow Cab had planned to buy vehicles known as MV-1s that run on compressed natural gas and cost between $40,000 and $45,000, significantly more than most standard cabs. They had expected to cover part of the cost through a federal grant that would pay for the incremental cost of having natural-gas vehicles.

But Bill Scalzi, president of Metro Taxi and president and CEO of its affiliate Metro Access, said that if the vehicles are not purchased by January, “the State of Connecticut loses this one-time opportunity to expand wheelchair-accessible taxi service throughout Connecticut.”

Scalzi said he was “shocked and deeply disheartened” by the department’s decision.

He called the testimony during hearings in March compelling. “Individuals with mobility disabilities spoke of isolation, frustration, depression, loneliness, separateness, injustice, inequality–a keen sense of being cut off from society and the vital pulse of life’s spontaneous pleasures,” Scalzi said in a statement. “We heard descriptions of people getting stranded and having no way to get home, people hoping to get a job if they had taxi service, having to take an ambulance to attend a parent’s funeral, or an elderly man who hadn’t been out of his house for six months at a time.”

He noted that demographic data suggests that more than 170,000 state residents have a mobility disability, and said that when Metro Access introduced its first wheelchair-accessible taxi in 2009, “That one taxi unleashed pent-up demand of seismic proportion.”

“How much more ‘need and necessity’ must the DOT see?” he added.

Michelle M. Duprey, director of New Haven’s department of services for persons with disabilities, said she and other people in the disability community will meet Tuesday to discuss their options, which include legal action.

“Everybody that has been involved in this process and this project and heard about the taxis is just stunned,” she said, adding that she thought the hearings demonstrated a significant need and an opportunity to expand options for people with disabilities.

“If it had been a different community getting up and having dozens of people testify that they need it, they probably would’ve gotten the permits,” she said.

Duprey noted that even if Metro Taxi appeals the ruling, there won’t be a decision before the expiration of the federal grant that would have funded a portion of the vehicles.

“It’s a shame to see government stymie creativity of private organizations that are trying to serve an underserved community,” she said.

There are currently a handful of wheelchair-accessible taxis operating in the state, including three operated by Metro Access. People who use wheelchairs can get rides from paratransit services, but they typically only go within ¾ mile of a bus route. Dial-a-ride services go to more locations, but they usually must be booked at least a day in advance and typically only travel within a town or region. There are other transportation-for-hire services, but they can cost hundreds of dollars to go between towns.

Many people testified at the hearings about the need for more wheelchair-accessible transportation options, but in the ruling on the Metro Taxi application, Mandour noted that several people who testified did not have knowledge of whether the existing service meets the needs of the general population of the area.

She also took issue with the calculations used by Metro Taxi to project the need for additional vehicles. Mandour wrote that the company extrapolated based on statistics on the population with mobility disabilities in New Haven and Connecticut to show demand for more than 1,500 additional trips per day, but did not provide direct evidence to support the calculation. To show a need for new cab service, she wrote, the applicants would have to demonstrate a need in terms of public convenience and necessity, such as by showing that existing cab services are poor, or that people faced excessive wait times or were unable to get services at all.

“While there was testimony from the numerous witnesses that they are in favor and support accessible taxicab services throughout the state, there were only a handful of witnesses who actually stated that they would use taxicab service,” Mandour wrote.

In denying Yellow Cab’s request for permits, Mandour wrote that owner Marco Henry had submitted inaccurate information to document the number of trips his cabs made during each shift. He testified that his fleet is at capacity making 14 trips per shift, but Mandour said the standard for full utilization is 20 trips, leaving room in the existing fleet to accommodate increased demand.

“The issue comes down to the current taxicab companies’ business decision of using accessible vehicles to provide taxicab service, not whether they should be available or if there is a need,” Mandour wrote.

Henry did not respond to a call for comment Monday.

YCC Featured in Hartford Business Journal

October 19, 2011 Media

Bloomfield Yellow Cab to Open CNG station

October 19, 2011
By Brad Kane, Hartford Business Journal

Six weeks after a West Haven taxi company opened a compressed natural gas fueling station, a Bloomfield taxi service will unveil a CNG station of its own on Nov. 10.”The infrastructure is growing and making it viable for a fleet to go CNG,” said Marco Henry, owner of Yellow Cab in Bloomfield.Bloomfield’s Yellow Cab and West Haven’s Metro Taxi – which opened its CNG station on Sept. 26 – are participating in the Connecticut Clean Cities Future Fuels Project, which is using $29 million in federal economic recovery grants to install alternative fueling stations throughout the state.

By installing CNG, liquefied natural gas, biodiesel and electric charging stations throughout Connecticut, the Future Fuels Project wants to stimulate the use of alternative fuel vehicles throughout the state, reducing dependency on more heavily polluting gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.

For the full story please click here.

The Vehicle Production Group starts production of the MV-1

August 10, 2011 Media

MIAMI, FLA – The Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG) announced the start of production for the “First Mobility Vehicle”, MV-1, the first and only factory-built and assembled vehicle which meets or exceeds the vehicle guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The MV-1 will be available in either gasoline or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powertrains. Production of its fully certified vehicle has officially begun and deliveries to customers will begin by the end of September 2011.

Fred Drasner, Chairman of VPG said “We are proud to be the first manufacturer to provide people with mobility issues a purpose-built vehicle that meets the same expectations that all new car buyers have; ease of entry and exit, an exceptional ride, state of the art technology and unprecedented reliability, quality and durability.” The MV-1is being assembled at the AM General Commercial Assembly Plant in Mishawaka, Indiana. Rick Smith, President-Commercial Business for AM General, expressed his enthusiasm; “AM General’s workforce is eager to begin production and be part of the MV-1 story. We believe the MV-1will very quickly become an iconic vehicle setting a new standard against which all other paratransit vehicles will be measured”

The MV-1 features a 56-inch high by 36-inch wide side door opening for easy wheelchair or motorized scooter entry and exit via a wide deployable ramp with a 1200 pound capacity that quickly and easily stores beneath the floor inside the vehicle. The vehicle’s ramp is available in either a manual or powered version. The MV-1 can accommodate a passenger in a wheelchair and another five occupants, when equipped with an optional rear facing jump seat.

Go Green with Optional CNG

The MV-1 is also the only ADA compliant vehicle with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) engineered and assembled CNG fuel delivery system option. Since the system is factory installed, the MV-1 with the CNG option meets all government safety and crash test requirements and maintains the same durability, reliability and quality as the gasoline-powered vehicle, while reducing operating expenses. The CNG fuel system delivers an estimated 290-mile range by virtue of three lightweight tanks seamlessly integrated into the vehicle’s design, providing customers with a more cost effective and environmentally conscious ownership option without sacrificing significant vehicle driving range.

For more information on the MV-1 please click here.

 

For People in Wheelchairs, Calling a Cab is Not an Easy Option

July 19, 2011

July 19, 2011
By Arielle Levin Becker, The Connecticut Mirror

When Charles Smyth’s sister called to say that their mother was dying and he should get to her bedside quickly, Smyth had another problem to deal with first: How to get to the hospital. Smyth is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair. He regularly takes a paratransit service for people with disabilities, but it must be booked at least a day in advance. On that day, he called to see if the company would make an exception. It wouldn’t. He scoured the Yellow Pages for an alternative.

“That was the first time that I really experienced a complete feeling of hopelessness, helplessness,” said Smyth, who lives in Orange. “Here I was, the father, the breadwinner, the guy that took care of everybody’s problems, and I couldn’t even get down to see my own mother.”

Finally, someone he called referred him to a medical transport service, which took him to the hospital. The ride was less than 7 miles, but cost $75 each way.

“It’s very, very confining to be in a wheelchair and know that you want to get someplace and you just can’t get there,” he said.

Smyth is one of many wheelchair users awaiting a decision from the state Department of Transportation on requests by two cab companies hoping to get 140 wheelchair-accessible taxis. There’s only a handful in the state now, and people who use wheelchairs say their transportation options are limited.

Paratransit services, like the one Smyth uses, give rides in areas served by bus lines, but typically only go within ¾ mile of a bus route. There are dial-a-ride services that aren’t constrained by bus routes, but they usually must be booked at least a day in advance and typically only travel within a town or region; in some areas, people going to medical appointments or other services get priority in scheduling rides. Other transportation-for-hire services can cost hundreds of dollars to go between towns.

The ability to call a cab at any time “just seems like such an amazing thing to be able to do,” said Jade Vail, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. She takes a paratransit bus to and from work, scheduling her rides in advance, but worries what she would do if a family member had an emergency. If she gets sick at work, she’s likely to have to wait until her usual departure time for a ride home, and going out with little notice is almost impossible.

“My friends say, ‘How ’bout we go to a movie?'” Vail said. “And I say, ‘Well, you know, I can’t because I don’t have transportation to get there.'”

The proposals by Metro Taxi of West Haven and The Yellow Cab Company of Bloomfield to get 70 wheelchair-accessible taxis each involve federal funding and alternative fuel, and have the support of many people with disabilities. But they’re not a sure thing.

The vehicles they’re hoping to get, called MV-1s, run on compressed natural gas and cost between $40,000 and $45,000–more than most standard cabs. Metro Taxi President Bill Scalzi said the cost can be made up in part from the reduced fueling costs, and in part by a federal grant that will cover the incremental cost of having a vehicle fueled by natural gas. To get the federal money, Scalzi said, the vehicles must be on the road by the end of January.

Metro Taxi and Yellow Cab are seeking permits to operate additional vehicles, which has drawn opposition from other companies. In addition, Metro Taxi is seeking to expand its territory.

For the full story please click here.

Yellow Cab Adds GREEN to its Yellow Fleet!

April 25, 2011

The Yellow Cab Company of Hartford, the region’s largest cab company took delivery of 20 new Ford Transit Connect Vehicles. The taxis are engineered to run on Compressed Natural Gas. According to Peter Casarella of Connecticut’s Yankee Gas Company, the concept of running a taxi fleet on CNG is a trend first brought to this country by Yellow Cab Company president Marco Henry in the late 1990’s when taxi cabs running on CNG were unheard of.

According to a Popular Mechanics article written by Erik Sofge, “this could be a major turning point for the use of CNG in the United States, and the inevitable fracturing of the domestic fuel market into something closer to what’s seen in other parts of the world.” He goes on to explain “In South America and Southeast Asia, millions of cars already run on CNG. Other countries, such as Turkey, Italy and Sweden, have tens of thousands of CNG-powered vehicles, with varying amounts of refueling stations. The benefits of CNG are pretty clear–it burns cleaner than gas, producing some 30 percent less in emissions, and it tends to be cheaper.

Also, we get some 80 percent of our CNG domestically.”

According to the Department of Energy’s most recent estimate, the average price for the gas equivalent for fuel versus CNG was $1.86 per gallon.

That means The Yellow Cab Company of Greater Hartford is not only green from an environmental stand point and helping to reduce our dependency on foreign fuel, the company will save some green in the process.

For the Popular Mechanics article, please click here.

Two Connecticut Taxi Companies Order Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles

January 3, 2011 Media

December 1, 2010
By Janice Podsada, The Hartford Courant

Two Connecticut taxi operators will add 20 Ford Transit Connect vehicles, powered by compressed natural gas, to each of their fleets. Compressed natural gas is less expensive than gasoline and releases 30 percent to 40 percent fewer greenhouse gases than similar gasoline-powered vehicles, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Metro Taxi of West Haven and the Yellow Cab Co. of Bloomfield each ordered 20 of the vehicles, whose fuel efficiency averages 21 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway.

Deal of the Day: Free Cab Rides On New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2010 Media

After partying, call a cab If you find yourself too tipsy to drive after ringing in the new year this evening, AAA and The Yellow Cab Company can help. Care Cab, a program developed to provide free rides to intoxicated party-goers in the Greater Hartford area on New Year’s Eve, can get you home safely.

Rides are available from a public establishment to a private residence. Callers must be 21 years old and over.

To request a ride, call AAA at 800-AAA-HELP. The phone line will be active from 12:01 until 6 a.m.

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