Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Eco Lives: Seth Riney

Going The Green Mile

On New Year's Day circa 2003, while reading Natural Capitalism, a book on environmental entrepreneurship, I wondered why hired vehicles such as taxis and limos were still based on traditional platforms—everywhere I see Crown Victorias, Lincoln Town Cars and mini-vans commanding the streets. The only innovation of late has been to make the platforms larger by switching to SUVs. I thought, “Why are livery fleets, the largest class of public vehicles on city streets, comprised of mostly large, inefficient, gas-guzzling beasts while the rest of the world is going green?”

With that question, PlanetTran was born. My vision: an urban transport infrastructure that utilizes the most efficient transportation technology available. My mission: start a livery service based exclusively on the gas-electric hybrid Toyota Prius, the most technologically advanced vehicle on the road.

I was previously consulting on web infrastructures, financial services and biotechnology applications for various clients. After working for a startup internet company, I realized that there are two types of people in the corporate world: people who make things happen and everyone else who works for them. I wanted to be someone who makes things happen. So, I utilized my software architecture experience to create an industry-leading integrated application to deliver a comprehensive online booking service.

What started with just one Prius quickly grew a loyal following and earned national press, establishing PlanetTran as the nation’s first livery service to exclusively use ultra fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles. We’ve been able to serve individuals and organizations in the greater Boston and Bay area, and are now recognized as one of the most influential vehicles in reducing the carbon footprint of Corporate America.

I chose to focus on four key principals–the environment, reliability, value and technology–that have won us both accolades (voted Cambridge Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year in 2006) and a customer list that boasts a 98% return rate. In March we received financing from Cue Ball Capital, the Boston-based venture and early growth equity investment firm. This aided our mission to help local businesses and consumers become eco-friendly, making Boston’s mandate to “GO GREEN by 2010” even more realistic.

Being green has helped our branding substantially—since our hybrid fleet consumes up to 8x less gas than traditional car services, we are able to provide customers with a lower price point than black car services. With the recent economic downturn, companies have turned to us for a cost-effective alternative that also helps save the planet.
And I went the extra mile to add unique features such as free in-car WI-FI, electronic booking and receipts and an impact calculator with a summary of client’s greenhouse gas reduction from using PlanetTran over traditional car service.

We are continuously growing in Boston and San Francisco, with a recent rebranding on Earth Day. Our logo has transformed into a dragonfly, which is characterized as agile, elegant and efficient. Like the dragonfly in its natural surroundings, PlanetTran thrives in today’s transportation landscape. The icon embodies more than our green status, it communicates our dedication to delivering sophisticated, nimble and attentive customer experiences.
More than ever, PlanetTran has become a necessary component in the green movement, as well as the transportation environment. And knowing I help others green the earth is benefit enough! Stay tuned for new service announcements as we expand our capabilities and further enhance the reliability and value.

I hope you share this vision of smarter urban transportation services, and continue to contribute to the earth’s sustainability. Please check us out at!

R. Seth Riney, Founder

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1 comment:

MN Black said...

It is very nice to go for the green vehicles, they are good for environment.
Black car service