Greener ride in the state of Washington
New for-hire cab company launched fleet running entirely on natural gas
Called CNG for Hire, Abdul Yusuf’s initiative features 45 green and blue-painted Chevy Impalas, licensed to operate in Seattle and King County. "We can provide an eco-friendly car, and if we can provide a service that saves them up to 30 percent, then it is good for the consumer and it is good for the environment," said Yusuf, the company's CEO and former owner of 101 Auto Sales in the Rainier Valley. The conversion cost averaged about $10,000 per vehicle and was made by Kent-based firm World CNG.
The company was awarded $460,000 in stimulus grants under a $300 million U.S. Department of Energy program to help commercial fleets, including taxis, convert to greener fuels. "We knew the central mission of this stimulus money was to reduce petroleum use. What I love about the CNG for Hire story is it really did the job creation," said Stephanie Meyn, program manager of Western Washington Clean Cities.
CNG for Hire also received a $475,000 loan from the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, which was implemented to help businesses survive during and after construction of light rail on the surface of South Martin Luther King Jr. Way. It also partnered with Clean Energy Fuels, which owns five of six CNG stations in the Puget Sound area, to finance the purchase of the new Impalas.
Even though the company has hired 14 employees for operations, dispatch, billing and maintenance staff, there are plans to grow to about 20, informed local media Seattle P-I. In turn, there will be 100 drivers to operate the NGVs during day and night shifts. According to Yusuf and his business partner, company president Rasheed Ahmed, they want to recruit veterans returning from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan.