Monday, December 13, 2010

A Green Christmas

I was surprised by an e-vite from manager Athan Rebellos to attend Green Cab's Christmas party at the Sierra Bowl in Daly City. I mean, the company is owned by Mark Gruberg and is a bastion of UTW drivers.

Since I've bad-mouthed the organization and its leader more than once, I wondered if they intended to throw bowling balls at me. On the other hand, no other taxi company has ever invited me to a Christmas Party - I have my medallion with Luxor and I don't even know if they have a Christmas party - so I went.

Athan told me that he'd invited me so that I'd write the event up in my blog but that I couldn't tell anybody his bowling score. It seemed like a fair exchange for free pizza and conviviality. 

Green Cab is a very interesting company and the drivers I talked with were enthusiastic about working there.

Green Cab is unique in this city for being a democracy. Athan was elected to his position as manager and has to be re-elected every year. This creates a very different atmosphere from that of most companies where the management style appears to have been copied from the Gestapo.

"I didn't know what to do when I first came over here," a medallion holder told me, "Athan was friendly and actually wanted to hear my ideas ... I could probably make more money somewhere else but it's so enjoyable working here that I'm not going to change."

The type of party itself was democratically chosen. The drivers voted on what they should do for a Xmas party and the majority wanted to go bowling.

I had a good time, enjoyed the pizza, met some very nice people and ran into other people I don't see very often. It was especially nice to talk with Rua Graffis who was a political ally and a pal back when I first started driving 27 year ago.

In keeping with my promise to Athan, I can only say that his score was less than 300 but more than 93.


  1. Cab drivers having fun: what an interesting concept. Bravo to your post, Ed and to Green Cab. Happy end of the year Holidays. paul harting

  2. Gee Ed, what a nice warm post. Thanks for coming to our little get-together -- it was nice to see you there. It's always nice to see you. Let me say that I have absolutely loved being at Green. The last three-and-a-half years have been like a cab industry re-birth for me.

    I must nit-pick about your description of the ownership of Green -- if Mark Gruberg "owns" Green Cab, I'm not sure the rest of us know that yet. We all believe that it's an LLC, and that there are 30-plus of us who've chosen to be members. And UTW? A bunch of us are (or have been) UTW members, but honestly, I think that if you polled all Green Cab drivers, three-quarters of us would say, "UTW... Wait, wait, don't tell me... I know this one... OK, What is it? Can you tell me?" I haven't heard one pro-UTW discussion since I've been there. Inside Green, it's a non-issue.

    But everyone at Green does know that if you drive 800 hours a year, you can become a member of Green Cab, LLC ($100/year -- I think that's our dues), and once you're a member, your vote has the same weight as the vote of anyone else in the company. And that, I believe, is absolutely unique in the San Francisco cab industry. Also, should Green ever turn a profit, each member would get an equal share of the profits -- also unique. I know that you are plenty happy over at Luxor, Ed (many medallion holders are plenty happy with their situations), but hey, any time you feel like it, the door's open at Green, and you've got a personal invitation from me to come on over. I'm having by far the most fun I've had in the industry. We're making it up as we go along, and we could use some good sharp folks like you.

    Again, thanks for coming last night.

    Brad Newsham
    Green Cab #914