San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that will enable the purchase of more alternative-fuel taxi cabs for use on San Francisco streets.
Specifically, the legislation amends the San Francisco Police code by raising the taxicab gate cap to $96.50 and ratifies gate fees—the money drivers pay each time they take a cab out of the garage and a major source of taxi company revenue—previously charged up to $91.50 per shift for the period of January 1, 2003 to October 27 2006. It authorizes a $7.50 surcharge on the gate cap for low emission vehicles and requires taxi companies to reduce average per vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2012.
(In 2002, then-Supervisor Newsom was the only San Francisco Supervisor to vote against an increase of the gate fee cap from $83.50 to the current $91.50.)
Mayor Newsom’s 2006 State of the City Address challenged the Taxi Commission to create a 100% “green” taxi fleet. Approximately 15% of today’s fleet is either Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or hybrid vehicles. This legislation is expected to increase that percentage to 100% by 2011.