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Boston Brings in First Hybrid Taxis

2 October 2006

The City of Boston has launched Boston CleanAir Cabs, a program to replace ordinary taxis with cleaner vehicle technology. Boston’s first Hybrid Taxi, a Camry hybrid owned by Boston Cab Association, is now in service.

Boston taxi owners can replace ordinary vehicles with hybrid-electric or alternative fuel vehicles. The Boston Police Department’s Hackney Division has committed to allow three pre-approved vehicle models to be used as taxis for the Boston CleanAir Cabs program: the hybrid Toyota Camry, the hybrid Ford Escape and the CNG Ford Crown Victoria.

Boston CleanAir Cabs will have a unique green stripe on the vehicle, indicating that the taxi is cleaner for the environment and reduces public health impacts.

MassPort, a project partner on Boston CleanAir Cabs, has committed to develop incentives such as reduced airport access fees and reduced queuing time for drivers at Logan Airport.

The City of Boston recently reached a milestone in its use of biodiesel in its diesel engine fleet—250,000 blended gallons of ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) the cleanest petroleum-based diesel available mixed with 5% biodiesel (B5).

The mayor uses a CNG vehicle, and has amended the city’s vehicle procurement policy to require new purchases to be alternative fuel vehicles, hybrid-electric vehicles, or vehicles of higher fuel economy.

October 2, 2006 in Fleets, Hybrids, Policy | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)

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I would guess that almost a third of the cabs in my city are already Priuses (Priusii?). The economics of running a cab already force them towards hybrids. A little extra push won't hurt.

I would like to see household garbage collection changed so that there is only one stop per block. That would save time, money and a ton of pollution. Younger neighbors already help the older folks get the garbage out.

Nice, stop and go driving is one of the strengths of full hybrid automobiles. They should make all taxis micro hybrids, to take into account the stoplights, and gridlock they are stuck behind. In fact, that should be done with most cars/trucks.
_Here in NYC, there is apparently a Lexus 450h taxi. I have not seen it, but dang, a Lexus taxi is more of a public limo.

Good to see that Boston isn't sidetracked by "the promise" of E85- of course the cabbies are going to need to adjust their habits to achieve intended results, no more "take me to Logan and step on it!"

The economics of running a cab already force them towards hybrids.

Just the same as the economics of heating an apartment already force landlords toward installing efficient heating, windows, and insulation.

They don't.


It turns out that cab drivers aren't cab owners. Cab drivers lease cabs from owners, typically a week at a time in Boston. So, cab drivers have an incentive to get the energy efficient vehicles since they fuel them, but cab owners have an incentive to minimize their costs, which are $vehicle + $maintainance. Hybrids cost more to buy and to maintain than your standard few-years old "cop car" Fords and Chevys.

I agree that it "should" work, but in the mean time there's this friction very similar to that between landlord and tenant.

I agree that if the landlord or owner have no incentive, then they probably won't do it. Someone said that they could charge more for the energy efficiency, but rentals are a competative advantage and if I have to charge more, then who will rent it?

Neil: You were close... I think Prii is the correct syntax. "Those who go before."

stormy: you must have different regs where you are. Here almost all new cars are prii (will go with this plural). I suspect that a many will go with the camry now that it is out. It may also be because here in Canada we at least try to tax gas at a reasonable rate. (That should get some comment from our buddies to the south)

In Canada the economics for cab owners pushes them toward the Prius. The tax rebates plus fuel economy and lower maitenance costs lets Toyota dealers sell it as a "zero cost" vehicle beating the competition with standard ICE equipment. So far the drivers/owners are very happy with their puchases, citing the lower depreciation and resale value as another incentive. Cab owners are a prime target for PHEVs when they first come along - which a rumor suggests may come from the GM Saturn division as early as 2008.

PHEV from Saturn in 2008? Link?

Unless the PHEV have fast recharge times I can't see that helping them all that much. With fast recharge times that would be tremendously helpfull. Perhaps they could manage a battery swap strategy within the fleet.

Someone said hybrids cost more to maintain. Certainly not the prius, which should rarely if ever need brake pads. No starter, no alternator, no transmission work. So why more maintenance?

Just anecdotal, but other than normal oil changes, etc., maintenance costs on my 1 1/2 year old Prius have been zero. Also, I think the longer brake life will be a definite advantage. Tune ups are only required every 100,000 miles. So, really, what is the problem?

t, Does your Prius have any belts? I couldn't imagine (other than a timing belt concealed by the timing cover) that it would have any need for such. If so then the there really should be fewer things to maintain unless someone is alluding to the need for swapping out the battery pack at some point in the future. I don't believe too many people would keep their vehicle long enough (as the original owner) to necessitate swapping the battery.

All taxis should be hybrids. In every major city.

All taxis should be hybrids. In every major city.

You got that right! Or do you?

One thing putting hybrids into taxi service can do is prove reliability and longevity. Nothing like the accellerated life tests of putting 100k miles on in 2 years to prove this.

I'm adding prius to my limo fleet in San Diego. It can only be positive.

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