Taxi Fleet Owner Protest Against Hybridization ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Taxi Fleet Owner Protest Against Hybridization

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Taxi Fleet Owner Protest Against Hybridization

Taxi fleet owners are fighting back against the hybrid car taxi fleet being mandated in New York City. Fleet owners are worried about an upcoming deadline on Oct 1 for registering only hybrid cars as cabs.

Specifically, they don't believe they can get their hands on enough of them to replace the 2,000 to 2,500 taxis they must replace by then as part of the cycle mandated by the city.

Every three years, every taxi cab in a fleet is replaced (every five years for individuals) on a staggered basis.

With the high demand on hybrids right now, the fleet owners may have a valid point.

But more likely, they don't want to outlay the extra money to purchase a hybrid, rather than a Crown Victoria. Hybrid cars may use less fuel, but those savings go to the drivers, not the owners. Fleet owners must charge more to rent out the vehicle to the drivers to make up the difference.

In a recent test up in Canada, it took only 14 months for hybrid taxi drivers to save enough on fuel costs to make up the difference in price. And that is despite a hybrid taxi costing twice as much as the traditional Crown Vic.

"On availability, it is true that hybrid sales nationwide have increased by over 45 percent over the last year," said Jeff Kay, director of Bloomberg's office of operations. "But we have been having discussions with the major auto manufacturers to ensure that availability will not be a problem." 

New mandates are forcing the black limos to go hybrid, as well, in NYC. That will mean another 13,000 hybrids over and above the taxi cabs in the next few years.

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