Michigan Green Cabs expands reach into Washtenaw County, sees growth in corporate travel market
The green-checkered cab has made its debut in Ann Arbor.
Just two years after Jon Tobias started Michigan Green Cabs in Wixom with two hybrid cars, the company has expanded to Washtenaw and Livingston counties and added 10 more Toyota Priuses to the fleet.
Revenues have doubled from last year, says Tobias, with most of the growth in the corporate travel market. Business travelers, says Tobias, are happy to ride in a hybrid vehicle, despite a lack of bells and whistles. Rock stars like them too; Roger Daltrey of The Who hired a cab for a day when he was in town for a concert, Tobias said.
“Many people have partnered with us, and corporations have partnered with us, because it was consistent with their desire to become involved in green initiatives,” says Tobias, a Wixom resident. “Other than changing light bulbs, there aren’t things that have an immediate impact on the environment. This has a substantial impact, but it’s also immediate.”
The Priuses get about 51 mpg on the highway and operate on electric power on city streets. (Tobias says he would prefer to use the Ford Fusion, an American compact hybrid, but it doesn’t offer the same passenger space and luggage capacity.)
Aside from using less gasoline, Michigan Green Cabs is also a paperless operation. All bookings and dispatching are done via Internet, so travelers anywhere can reserve a cab that will be waiting for them when they arrive. Rates, at $2.25 per mile, are competitive with cab companies that operate cars like Crown Victorias, gas guzzlers with cushy seats.
Tobias anticipates gross fare revenues ofÂ more than $1 millionÂ this year - almost twice last year’s take. Expanding into Washtenaw County made sense, given the amount of traffic to and from the university and the reception the company has gotten from the public.
“I truly believe the main reason we are successful is that we are doing the right thing for the right time for all the right reasons, and other people support what we’re doing. Even in this crazy economy, we’re taking off,” Tobias says.
Every Michigan Green cab on the road creates three full-time and 1 part-time jobs, and every four cabs creates another dispatch job, he says. The company now employs 35 people and is continuing to hire.
Before he launched Michigan Green Cabs in May 2008 with two Priuses, Tobias served as CEO of Michigan Cemetery Management; his brother, Tim, who runs the Washtenaw-Livingston operation, also was making good money in the corporate world, but was ultimately convinced by his brother to quit and join the company. Jon Tobias’s son, Ryan, is company general manager.
“If my dream comes true, I’ll have 150 hybrid vehicles on the road in 24 months,” says Tobias. “I want to transform the transportation industry here in Michigan. With 150 vehicles, we’ll save 1.2 million gallons a fuel a year. It’s a tall order, but I believe green cabs can operate in any market area.”
To book a cab, call 1-877-GRNTAXI (1-877-476-8294) or go online to http://www.migreencabs.com/.