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Orange Taxi will be using a mix of Toyota Scions and Priuses for a suburban Washington, D.C. cab service starting this month.
ROCKVILLE, Md. — Operator Robert Alexander is taking up taxis for the first time this month, proving how fluid the ground transportation sector has become in a more cost-driven business travel environment amid a rickety economic recovery.
Alexander’s RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation recently acquired 14 PVL (private vehicle licenses) to create ORANGE TAXI, based in Montgomery County, Md. It will serve the same metro-Washington, D.C. region now traversed by RMA’s fleet of 120 luxury chauffeured black vehicles. [RMA is the 2011 LCT Operator Of The Year Award winner in the 51-plus vehicles category].
While a transportation company operating limo and cab divisions is nothing new, Alexander is a longtime, major national operator steeped in the luxury tradition who serves as a board director of the National Limousine Association.
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Alexander recently told LCT that creating the cab division was an opportunity to diversify his transportation services and create a reliable and lucrative revenue stream in a more challenging economic and travel environment. “Most operators are saying it’s brilliant, that I’m hedging my bets,” Alexander told LCT. “The economics in cabs are better than limousines. You have a fixed revenue stream. You control the maintenance. You don’t have so many fluctuations in costs. Rates are metered.”
Alexander also is resigned to the realities of a far more budget-conscious post-recession environment. “People need to get where they need to go,” he said. “You have many more people who need a cab or a bus than a sedan service. Will they always need to use sedan service? I hope they do. At the end of the day, who knows?”
Orange Taxi will start out with a fleet of 14 Toyota Scions and Prius hybrids, fuel-efficient vehicles that average 28 mpg and 48 mpg respectively. According to license rules, the cabs must either pick up or drop off in Montgomery County, a densely-populated suburban county next to Washington, D.C. Each cab license is worth about $80,000 on the open market, and RMA becomes the fifth fleet company in Montgomery County to have PVLs, Alexander said. The new PVLs came about after the county government wanted to take measures to limit cab service monopolies.
“It’s easier for us, since we’re a high-end limo company, than for cab companies to go into the limo business,” Alexander said. “We’re going from high to low instead of low to high end. We can put standards in. It won’t be that difficult.”