Ron Sherman, president of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade does not believe hybrids should be used as taxis. In an editorial quick hit in the Detroit News he notes:
Hybrids, for all their fuel-efficient appeal, aren't designed for 24/7 commercial use. Worse, most hybrid models are too small to accommodate taxi partitions. ... A New York City taxicab typically travels 100,000 miles a year -- more than most passenger vehicles log in their lifetimes. That's why hybrid yellow cabs have been spending too much time with mechanics and not enough time servicing the riding public.
He really should have mentioned that to SF before they force the hybrids they had running into retirement after 300,000 miles.
In case you don't know what I'm talking about, SF forces cabs to retire after 300,000 miles, a mark the original hybrid cabs have met. According to Gil Portalatin, hybrid systems application manager at Ford Motor Co., "these things are tougher than nails. . . . We warranty the batteries for 150,000 miles and here you have cabs going out of service at 300,000 -- because that's the law, not because the cab's used up."
Why not just confess to the real reason. Hybrid taxicabs are more expensive to buy. Even though local politicians love them, and drivers make more money driving hybrid taxis. Besides which, if they are able to charge their drivers more, they should be able to pay off the difference very quickly.
The Taxicab Board has a better argument when it comes to the partitions. Maybe they should just stick to that.