When you think of Memphis, you probably think of the blues. And now, thanks to the efforts of Metro/Advantage Cab Company, you can also think of blue cabs… or maybe “green” cabs would be a better description. Metro recently announced plans to convert 30 percent of its fleet to blue Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles by the summer of 2012, with a long-term goal of being 100 percent hybrid by 2015.
“Hybrid vehicles produce up to 90 percent less toxic emissions than other non-hybrid vehicles,” says Jay Kumar, president of Kumar Transportation Inc., which operates Metro. “That means fewer chemicals in the air and fewer physical symptoms and respiratory problems for people.” Kumar believes that since Metro is one of Memphis’s largest transportation companies, the conversion to more fuel-efficient vehicles will have a big impact on the city’s quality of life.
Of course, the cost savings to Metro Cab will also be substantial. The Prius gets about 40 mpg; compare that to the typical taxi, a Crown Victoria, which averages 15 mpg. That means Metro’s fleet of 90 hybrid vehicles would use 162,500 gallons of gas a year compared to the 433,000 gallons for a Crown Victoria fleet. Add that up and it’s a savings of $7,200 per vehicle annually, for a total fuel savings of $650,000.
Kumar hopes Metro’s move will inspire other transportation companies in the city to follow suit. “Sometimes you just do a good thing because it’s the right thing to do,” he says. “We hope to get taxi passengers to deliberately seek out our eco-friendly hybrid vehicles as an effective, everyday way to reduce harmful emissions.”
The boon to Metro’s marketing efforts is obvious: Blue cabs=differentiation. And standing out in a sea of yellow cabs is no small feat.
Blue isn’t the only color you’ll see on a Metro/Advantage cab. In October, the company participated in the national “Pink Ride” campaign: Customers could catch one of Metro’s signature pink cabs, and a dollar from every fare collected went to the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” program.
Through the month of October, Metro Cab raised $4,200 for breast cancer awareness and an untold amount of customer loyalty in the Memphis community.
So next time you fly into Memphis, whether it’s on business or to hit the clubs on Beale Street, remember to look for the blues—the blue cabs, that is!
For more information on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation and how founder Nancy Brinker applies an entrepreneuer's approach to attacking a lethal disease, read From the Corner Office: Nancy Brinker.