The cars have arrived and they're visible, but not yet ready to be taxicabs. That's caused all sorts of questions about Green Cab of Madison, the hybrid cab company whose cars have been parked on Fish Hatchery Road this week.
"We've had a lot of people coming in to ask if the vehicles were for rent or for sale," said John Schmidt, co-owner of the company that has plans to begin service in August. "We've had other people come in and want to apply to drive one. Or we've had inquiries where someone said, ‘Why are all the Priuses down there?'"
Last month, Green Cab announced its plan to become Madison's first all-hybrid taxicab service. Its application for service was approved by the City Council on June 15.
The fleet of 10 Toyota Priuses, purchased new at Smart Motors, has been at Schmidt's Auto to get trailer hitches attached to the back of the cars. The small cars won't be towing anything, but the hitches were needed to then attach the Saris bike rack each taxi will receive.
Plus, Fish Hatchery Road is a busy street.
"We figure it's good advertising now, considering they're not on the road," Schmidt said.
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Green Cab will also have a 14-passenger van it will convert into a hybrid. The company will be based at 1621 Beld St.
The cars are getting exterior design work, with radio equipment yet to be installed.
One Green Cab with its exterior work complete will be at the Green Drive Expo at Alliant Energy Center this weekend.
The company will begin with 30 to 35 independent-contractor drivers and five dispatch staff members. Schmidt said Green Cab isn't taking applications yet, but will schedule a job fair.
"We had so many inquiries we figure we'll pick a date, explain to them what our business goal is and what we expect from the contractors who we sign up with," he said. "Then if they're interested, they can fill out an application and we'll go from there."
Schmidt said the plan was to start slow, and grow to 20 cabs in the next year.