They may be the newest kid on the block. But when it comes to taxi service in the Huntington area, they‘re -- different.
One year into operations, Eco Taxi, the brainchild of Boris Goldstein, has made its presence known as a purveyor of ‘Green’ cab and limo service for the region.
In 12 months, Eco Taxi has quadrupled in size, from one to four vehicles, and has concrete plans for growth in its second year of operation.
“I see myself with 10-12 cars in Huntington in a few years, and then pursuing other towns on Long Island,” says Goldstein.
The concept? A fleet of eco-friendly hybrid Ford Escape vehicles, providing everything from train station pickups to private chauffeur work, and from airport shuttle service to local fares into and out of Huntington Village at night.
“All our vehicles are hybrid -- which means about 50 percent less emissions, and consuming of less fuel,” said Eco Taxi‘s owner. “That means we’re eco-friendly, and it also means that in terms of pricing, we are able to pass savings on to customers.”
Goldstein, a Huntington resident who grew up in Brooklyn in a family of Russian émigrés, hasn’t always been in the cab business. But after a number of years in sales, he decided he wanted to try his hand at driving a cab. And it wasn‘t too long after that he had an a-ha moment. “I noticed that at the end of the day, a drive put so much money into fuel that wasn’t getting very much for his work,” said Goldstein."
Eco Taxi is not the only Green cab company on Long Island, admits Goldstein, but the others are in Nassau. “I noticed nobody was doing this here in Huntington, and I figured why not do it -- 100 percent hybrid to start?”
Being Green means more than just using hybrids, however. “We are constantly doing what we can to reduce emissions,” said Eco Taxi’s owner and president this week, from the company’s Long Island office in Farmingdale. “We check tire pressure, we keep our vehicles tuned up, make sure gas caps are secure. We avoid aggressive driving and speeding.
A year into the business, Goldstein’s finding that in some ways, it’s ‘clear and to the point,’ and in other ways, a challenging enterprise. “This is a service that sells itself, which I like,” he said. "You need a ride? We pick you up.”
On the other hand, he’s had to learn the ins and outs of an operation that is more complicated than one might first expect.
“I thought it was going to be very easy, but nothing’s easy,” said Goldstein. “You have vehicles on the road 24/7, they’re always vulnerable to accidents. Insurance coverage is an issue, and then too, so is the significant mix of drivers coming in. Everyone’s an independent contractor, with own ideas and expectations. Some want to work as many hours as they can others not a lot.”
These are all management issues, of course, and according to Goldstein, they don’t impact on his basic premise -- provide an eco-friendly operation that is consumer oriented. That means commitment not just to the success of his business, but his “Green“ message.
“Everybody can play a part in helping the environment,” he says. “For your own car, consider what we do with ours.“