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Arlington’s Envirocab Service to Be Sold

EnvirocabArlington’s Envirocab service is being sold to a large transportation conglomerate.

Owners Hans Hess and Cord Thomas, Hess’ nephew, are planning to sell the 50-cab fleet to Veolia Transportation, which operates more than 2,400 taxicabs around the country. Among Veolia’s local holdings are the SuperShuttle airport transportation service and a third of the Washington Flyer cab fleet.  Hess also owns the Ballston-based Elevation Burger restaurant chain.

The Arlington County Board must first approve the ownership transfer, per a condition of Envirocab’s taxi licenses. County staff is recommending that the Board approve the sale at its meeting on Tuesday.

The sale has been in the works since at least February. In March, Veolia’s SuperTaxi subsidiary, which will operate Envirocab, told county staff that it plans to offer the following benefits for Envirocab employees and the cab-riding public:

  • “SuperTaxi will maintain operations and key personnel as well as stand dues at current levels.”
  • “SuperTaxi will provide consumers with new smartphone apps to reserve a taxicab along with a 24 hour, 7 days per week call center with customer-service trained staff.”
  • “SuperTaxi will hold regular meetings with drivers to improve service and safety and provide driver award programs.”
  • “SuperTaxi will use incentives to provide service during peak demand periods.”
  • “SuperTaxi will add at least one wheelchair-accessible taxicab to the fleet (while still keeping its fleet size at 50 taxicabs as authorized under the existing certificate issued to Envirocab).”

Earlier this month the Arlington Transportation Commission unanimously voted to support the ownership transfer. In a report, county staff concluded that the sale “will not adversely affect the health, safety and welfare of the traveling public nor will it adversely affect the Arlington County taxicab industry.”

In December, the County Board denied Envirocab’s request for additional taxi licenses, despite a recommendation from County Manager Barbara Donnellan that the company receive 10 additional licenses.

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