The New York-based Coalition Advocating for Smart Transportation (CAST), has released a poll indicating that 70% of New Yorkers think it is important (34% of that very important) for hybrids to become the majority of the New York City taxi fleet over the next five years.
That same 70% (43% strongly) supports City Council bill (Introduction) 642 that would permit hybrid vehicles to meet specifications for license by the Taxi and Limo Commission. Intro 642 apparently is stalling in the Transportation Comittee, however.
Intro 642, the “Clean Air Taxicabs Pilot Program Act,” would require the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to approve one or more hybrid vehicles for use as taxis, and specifies that the law go into effect 30 days after enactment.
The Council passed legislation two years ago requiring 9% of new taxi medallions to be for alternative fuel vehicles, but the TLC has failed to approve a hybrid vehicle or implement a pilot program even though nineteen taxi owners invested money to purchase the special medallions.
At a meeting of the Transportation Committee on 16 June, to discuss the bill, the city’s taxi commission chairman, Matthew W. Daus, told the committee that “the 30-day time frame is neither practical nor legal.” (NY Times) As noted in the Times article:
Mr. Daus, a lawyer who was originally appointed by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, said that when he took the job in 2001, the No. 1 complaint he heard from passengers was the lack of legroom.
Advocates have pressed the commission to approve the use of the hybrid Ford Escape, but Mr. Daus said he did not believe cab users would like it.
The Committee has laid over the bill; it will not be voted upon by the Council on 22 June as its supporters had hoped.
Other results of the poll:
Two-thirds (66%) of taxi riders are more likely to vote for an elected official who supports hybrid taxis.
Pollution and air quality (55%) is the most important environmental problem for voters in New York City. Trash and waste is a distant second (10%) and overdevelopment (4%) is third.
Three-fourths (75%) of registered voters say New York City’s air quality is only fair or poor and half (49% getting worse) are pessimistic about the future of New York City’s air quality.
The survey was conducted by Global Strategy Group between June 11-14, 2005, among 600 registered voters in New York City. Additional voters were contacted in Manhattan to ensure enough taxi riders were surveyed to be statistically significant. Respondents were chosen from a voter list. The margin of error for this survey at the 95% confidence level is +/- 4% on the overall sample. The margin of error on sub-samples is greater. Interview quotas were set by region based on registration data. The survey was conducted using professional phone interviewers. The interviews were conducted with a CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) system.