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Toyota Prius hybrids from Iowa City's Black and Gold Cab Company
Cities across the U.S. are making a fashion statement that seems to be catching on—green is the new yellow. Taxis in many major cities are becoming more environmentally friendly by switching to low-emission vehicles. By taking this leap, taxis, which are the ultimate offenders of continuous stop-and-go traffic, will vastly decrease their contribution of carbon emissions on the road.
After reading a post from our friends at Inhabitat about Boston taxis recently taking the initiative to go green, we decided to see what other cities were making the same effort to decrease their carbon tire track. What we found was a spread of cities and individuals offering green transportation to those in need, including locals and travelers abroad.
Arlington, VA - Introduced to the greater Washington area as “the first carbon-neutral [taxi] fleet in the U.S.” earlier this year, EnviroCab offers only environmentally friendly vehicles to its customers. They even go the extra mile by offsetting their carbon emissions and then some in an effort to be the first carbon-negative taxi service in the world.
Boston - A major part of the overall plan to improve the city’s taxi system, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino calls for all taxis to be replaced by hybrids within seven years. Along with these efforts to go green, the plan also requires drivers to install credit card machines and bars the wearing of sweatpants and T-shirts on the job (which isn't exactly green, but hey, it's something).
Chicago - Here, the transition to hybrids started with the help of a little green friend, Kermit the Frog. In an energy campaign launched by Ford Motor Company, a fleet of Ford Escape Hybrids, featuring the car's spokesfrog Kermit, are providing green taxi services in Chicago.
Denver - Metro Taxi, Denver’s largest taxi service, offers a number of Toyota Prius hybrids to its customers. Taking the term quite literally, these taxis are identifiable by their green paint jobs. But you shouldn't take the green for granted, as more recently, the Yellow Cab Company of Denver also started to
offer hybrid cabs.
Iowa City - Chris Griffin initially bought two Toyota Prius hybrids this year because of their impressive gas mileage. An added bonus: they have more legroom than his older taxis. Now he is happy to note that customers and drivers alike are glad to go green. The Black and Gold Cab Company, although operating on a smaller level than our other major cities, is proud to be a part of the green auto movement.
Key West, FL - Forget yellow and green, Five Sixes Taxi Dispatch switched to hybrid vehicles while keeping its signature pink paint job. The company plans to make its entire pink fleet green by March 2009.
New York City - Last year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his plan to make all New York City taxis green by 2012. The five-year move to fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles is a part of his overall plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the city. The plan is well on its way for the approximately 13,000 taxis who call New York streets their home, athough the city recently hit a bump in its acquisition of hybrids.
San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas - Several taxi companies in these cities are taking part in the Green & Go Green Taxi Partnership established by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The partnership promotes and assists the conversion to cleaner emissions technology. Look for taxis featuring a Green & Go logo.
San Francisco - A pioneer in the switch to low-emission vehicles, the Bay City has offered green taxis to its visitors and residents for several years now. Green Cab, at the forefront of this movement, is a worker-owned company providing a fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles and high-mileage hybrids.
Seattle - The city council of Seattle took steps to help the environment by requiring all new taxis to get 30 miles to the gallon by 2013.
Outside the U.S., taxi services in cities like Dubai, London, Sydney, and Vancouver are also transitioning to hybrids. The changeover seems to be more than a temporary trend. Both drivers and customers seem to enjoy the environmental benefits and long-term financial advantages of low-emission vehicles.
Photo: courtesy of Chris Griffin
Know of any other cities or taxicab services going green? Let us know.