The landscape of Madison cabs is changing, as two local cab companies have been acquired by a Madison company called Mobility Transformation, Inc.
The company bought Green Cab, the eco-friendly option for cab riders, last month, and just last week it announced the acquisition of Badger Cab, the self-proclaimed longest running cab service in Madison.
Mobility Transformation also owns another company, a startup company called Zerology. The startup’s goal: to bring cab emissions to zero. Last October, the company partnered with Green Cab to convert its estimated fleet of 3500 Prius hybrid cabs to fully electric Teslas before their purchase of Green Cab last month.
Badger Cab is now retiring its red logo and becoming a part of Green Cab.
Tom Melms, CEO of Badger Cab, is retiring, too.
“I am quite positive that they are going to create something that, this might sound strange to say, but something that this country has not seen,” Melms says. “With all the taxicabs that they’re putting on that are electric, they’re the first fleet in the country I believe to have all electric cars. And their continuation to grow that and do other things to decrease the footprints, the carbon footprint, and just, I think their vision is tremendous, that there will be a lot of things that the city will see in the future.”
While Badger Cab employees will be staying on, they will now be under the Green Cab logo. The cabs themselves will be electric, with a mix of Chevrolet Bolts and Model 3 Teslas.
The CEO of Zerology, Shree Kalluri, plans to keep this economy option long-term. He also has other lofty goals for the future of Madison transportation:
“So, what we are doing is we are trying to create a very unified transportation ecosystem in Madison,” Kalluri says.
“For example, now that Green Cab, it’s a single app. It will not be two different apps. One app where you can pick up the comfort as well as the economy. Similarly, the cost-share program that we’re launching is going to not only allow cars, but in the future, it will actually integrate with bike-sharing programs, like BCycle, integrate with the metro. So what we want, our dream is, to have a single app that you need in Madison.”
In January, the City of Madison changed an ordinance to accommodate Zerology’s acquisition and streamline the transfer of cab licenses.
Alder Michael Tierney, part of the Transportation Commission that approved the change, says this allows cab companies to better compete with ride-sharing apps.
“My thought process when it comes to issues with taxis in the city of Madison and where you have companies like Green Cab or for that matter Union or Badger Cab, I’ve always been amenable to looking at changes in ordinance that relieve some of the burdens on those companies and then put them in a better position to be able to compete with the Ubers and Lyfts of the world,” Tierney says.
“In my view, Green Cab, Union Cab, Badger, they all are providing the public with taxis where you have a situation where the drivers, there are background checks, and for me, they provide an important safety element for the public.”
Green Cab’s all-electric fleet is currently set to roll out by March 31st of this year.