In November 2010, Luscious Garage added a night shift dedicated to hybrid taxi cabs.
The San Francisco taxi community is increasingly hybrid based, due to regulations that incentivize the technology. So-called “alternative fueled vehicles” (read: hybrids and natural gas) command a higher “gate fee”: what a company or individual owner-operator may charge a driver for use of the vehicle. Drivers prefer these vehicles, despite having to pay the higher “gate”, because the fuel savings is greater than the fee increase. Essentially money that was previously paid to oil companies is now being transferred to taxi cab owners and drivers, with the benefit of decreased carbon emissions overall.
Luscious Garage has been servicing hybrid taxis since we opened in 2007. SF Green Cab was one of our first customers; Thomas George-Williams, co-founder of SF Green Cab, actually wrote our first Yelp review. And as the taxi fleet has transitioned to hybrids, LG has increasingly focused on taxis.
In our new space, taxi business has grown in addition to “regular” customers, which is a good problem. It’s challenged us:
- To meet taxi demand without compromising our attention to private vehicle owners
- To accommodate taxi priorities, given that repairs are drop-in, often critical, and need to be done ASAP
- To maintain our standards for transparency, competency, and environmental responsibility, while staying price competitive with other taxi shops
In response, we piloted a second shift running overnight. After five months, our night shift now employs three additional technicians and services over 250 cabs, and hours have expanded to six nights a week. Though still in development, the shift has succeeded in meeting the needs of San Francisco taxis, leveraging the same expertise, equipment, and outstanding facility of the day shift, at the time most convenient for taxi service. It is now common for cabs to be lined out the door, with a circle of drivers chatting in the kitchen or smoking on the curb, speaking languages from all over the world.
As an independent service provider, LG caters to taxi owner-operators; individuals whose cars are their business. Despite heightened consciousness for turnaround and price, taxi owners share one important need with private hybrid owners: a mechanical advocate. At its core, bridging the technical divide is LG’s work, and our dedication, fluency, and honesty are highly appreciated by our customers regardless of their background.
We are also proud to support the city’s cab fleet and its effort to lower emissions.
Pictured: Night Shift Techs Rick Vogel, Mike Hardin, and Gil Caramanzana