Mission-based Green Cab’s 16 cabs are currently idle because they cannot find an SFMTA-approved insurance company willing to write them a policy and if they don’t find one in the next couple of weeks, the seven-year-old company could cease to exist.
“The more time passes the more difficult it is going to be,” said Mark Gruberg, one of the founders of worker-owned company. “To me it’s a bureaucratic Snafu. The situation is dire.”
Green cab’s insurance provider declined to renew its policy because the company has had two bad accidents in the past three years. Moreover, even if they do find an insurer, the SFMTA’s requirement that cab combines have a high rating may still doom its future.
Other smaller taxi companies could face the same problem in coming months as its policies are also set to expire, Gruberg said.
A similar situation occurred two years ago when a broker could not find $1 million liability insurance for cabs that work with smaller companies. That issue was resolved quickly but this time the situation is more critical because Green Cab just cannot find any insurer willing to provide them coverage.
Already, many of its drivers have moved on to other taxi companies, which are hungry for drivers after many of their own have moved to Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.
Rico Camacho, 58, for example, reluctantly moved to DeSoto Cab this week after working for Green Cab for four years.
“All the drivers don’t want to be with anyone else,” he said. “They were a very principled company.”
Gruberg was at his office at the Labor Temple contemplating three options: sell the company, which would be difficult in a market dominated by car sharing companies, get an insurance company once the SFMTA eases regulations – though there is no sign that would happen – or simply go out of business.
The SFMTA did not respond to a request seeking comment.
“We’ve been independently run, “he said. “This time we are coming up against this barrier.” One he said, that was not budging.