New Metro Taxi Technologies Drive Connecticut’s Green Job Growth: State’s Largest Taxi Cab Company Launches the ‘Metro Taxi Veteran Heroes for Hire Program’

Metro Taxi, Connecticut’s first taxicab company to own and operate wheelchair-accessible taxis powered by U.S.-produced Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), reports a 50 percent increase in driver applications for last quarter, an unprecedented spike in applications in the company’s 24-year history.

To respond to rapid growth, the company is launching the “Metro Taxi Veteran Heroes for Hire Program” and is collaborating with numerous community organizations, including the VA Connecticut Healthcare System’s West Haven Campus and The City of Bridgeport’s new Veterans Support Center, a co-location for veterans’ federal, state and local services.

“We are doing our utmost to decrease unemployment for those who heroically served our country by launching the ‘Metro Taxi Veteran Heroes for Hire Program,'” said Bill Scalzi, president and CEO of Metro Taxi in West Haven. “With the application surge in driver positions for our taxi and executive livery service, we’re seeing a greater diversity in work experience too. Applicants are coming to Metro Taxi’s bi-weekly informational sessions already knowledgeable about our new technologies; in particular, our alternative fuel capabilities that protect the environment, lower our dependence on foreign fuel, cut costs and are favorably regarded by the public as socially-responsible vehicles,” said Scalzi.

Metro Taxi has openings for dispatchers, customer service agents and independent contractor drivers. The Metro Taxi Veteran Heroes for Hire Program will help veterans transition their skills to the Transportation Industry and will offer them free training and support, if needed, in obtaining a Public Utility Commission License.


Metro Taxi’s employment recruitment campaign coincides with the roll out of 11 domestically-designed and manufactured “MV-1” mobility vehicles – the first installment of 70 MV-1s the company will be put into service this year. The MV-1 is the world’s first American-made vehicle to be designed from the ground up as a wheelchair-accessible taxi and is powered by domestically-sourced CNG. The MV-1 is also the only U.S.-built cab that meets the Americans with Disabilities Act.


“We’re welcoming new applicants from military, engineering, manufacturing, medical and health services, and other career backgrounds who specifically want to drive or work with Metro Access and serve Connecticut’s large disability community,” said Scalzi.


Growing Green Jobs in a Top U.S. Market:


In Sept. 2011, Metro Taxi opened a public access fueling station at its 65 Industry Drive location using a grant for alternative fuel vehicles from the Connecticut Clean Cities Future Fuels Project, the state’s largest public/private partnership of its kind.


“Over many years, Metro Taxi has steadily evolved as an innovative, socially-conscious business serving Bridgeport and Greater New Haven. Metro Taxi’s entry into the alternative energy field has fueled a vigorous growth spurt that is creating green jobs and new career opportunities for area professionals,” said Paul Timpanelli, president and CEO of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. “The Greater Bridgeport region, in particular, is becoming the ideal location for entrepreneurs to flourish and for visionary business owners like Metro Taxi to pioneer exciting new and lucrative careers.”


“What’s so impressive is that Scalzi sees beyond his own company’s well-being and is growing green jobs locally to create careers in a high-growth industry,” said Al LaGasse, chief executive officer of the Taxi, Limousine and Paratransit Association (TLPA). “Scalzi’s focus on social entrepreneurship as a business model is as intelligent as it is inspirational,” said LaGasse.


“Alternative energy will continue to be a top growth market during the next decade,” explained Andrew Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy, the largest natural gas provider in North America, a global leader in the expanding natural gas vehicle market, and the company that built a Compressed Natural Gas fueling station at Metro Taxi’s headquarters this fall. “The upsurge in opportunity and interest in domestically-produced, clean energy is generating business for a gamut of industries; defying recent economic trends in traditional fields,” Littlefair added.


In total, Metro Taxi will deploy 110 new CNG-powered taxis in 2012. The new CNG fleet is expected to displace about a half-million gallons of gasoline per year; equating to about 10 million pounds of Carbon Dioxide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Replacing 110 gasoline-fueled taxicabs with new clean-burning ones, will remove more than 2,500 tons of greenhouse gases annually.


“The gains to the environment and energy independence will increase exponentially,” said Littlefair,” as new career jobs are created in this burgeoning industry.”


Greening its Routine:


All new Metro Taxis are equipped with touch-screen technologies that let passengers swipe their credit cards from the comfort of the taxi’s backseat. Passengers do not need to carry cash, enabling Metro Taxi to greatly reduce paper consumption. Since 2008, Metro Taxi has consistently introduced charge and debit cards: the Metro Taxi Charge Card for corporate clients, the University Ride SafeĀ® Card for college and university students, the Metro Access Card for those using the company’s wheelchair-accessible taxi service, the Gift Card for holiday giving and the UniCard that promotes equal access transportation for all. Toward the goal of paper reduction, these charge and debit cards are all reusable and manageable online.


About Metro Taxi:


Metro Taxi has be a local, continuously expanding contributor to Connecticut’s economic development and a leader in public transportation since 1987. As the state’s largest, full-service taxi company, Metro Taxi is a modern, high-tech, 24/7-operation that features a global positioning system that minimizes customer wait-times within a 16-town area. Voted “best” taxi service by New Haven Advocate readers for seven consecutive years, the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce lauded Metro Taxi for technological sophistication. Business New Haven named Metro Taxi one of its 2010 green leaders and Connecticut Clean Cities bestowed its Outstanding Citizenship Award to Metro Taxi for the company’s strides in the use of alternative fuel.


Metro Taxi co-owners, Bill and Isabelle Scalzi, were honored by West Haven Chamber of Commerce leadership and West Haven Mayor John M. Picard as “2010 Business Persons of the Year.” Also in 2010, Bill received the Americans with Disabilities Act Coalition of Connecticut, Inc.’s “Spirit of ADA Award.” The Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association named Bill “TLPA 2010 Taxicab Operator of the Year” out of 1,100 worldwide members.


Originally posted in Connecticut Business News Journal


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