photo: Pablo Pecora
New York City's taxi fleet has been slowly converting to hybrids for some time, and earlier this year Mayor Bloomberg indicated that livery cabs should green-up their act as well. Now another Northeast city is getting in on the act: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has announced that 2015 the city's entire taxi fleet would have to be converted to hybrid vehicles.
Hybrids to be Phased In
According to the mayor's office:
The new standards for hybrid vehicles will be phased in as current vehicles reach their mandatory retirement age of six years. As a result of this new plan, owners will be required to replace their taxis with hybrid vehicles. Hybrid taxis will reduce carbon emissions from the taxi fleet by 50% and will save taxi drivers $1,000 a month in fuel costs. It is anticipated that within two years more than 50% of the fleet will be hybrid. It is required that by 2015 100% of the fleet is hybrid.
Predictably, Taxi Association Objects
As in New York, taxi drivers are nonplussed. Marckinson Charles, president of the Independent Taxi Operators Association was quoted in The Boston Globe: "We're not ready for this. If by 2015, we all have to have hybrids, we have a problem."
The Globe went on to say that the hybrid Toyota Camry's trunk space is too small for taking travelers and their luggage to the airport; and that the cost of replacing hybrid batteries "every few years" was too expensive.
As if there are no other hybrids suitable for taxis...