Burbank Taxi Drivers Love the Hybrids ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Burbank Taxi Drivers Love the Hybrids

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Burbank Taxi Drivers Love the Hybrids

New York Cabbies should take a look at what their counterparts in Burbank have to say about hybrid taxis before they continue their fight against the hybrid change-over.

Despite an initial reluctance on the part of the cabbies to make the change, now they love them. It's all about the cost of gas, too.

"Most of my passengers really like it. Some think it's small, but I'd say 97% of them like this car," said cab driver Káren Malkhasyan.

"It's comfortable. It's roomy, even for me."

And when talking about his Prius, which now has 250,000 miles on it, "No major problems with it. I get around 40 miles per gallon. I think new ones get even more," he said.

At $26,000 to $32,000 to purchase a hybrid taxi, I can understand their reluctance. But when it only takes 14 months to pay off the difference, I'm less sympathetic to the taxi cab owners (not the drivers). When you consider the $6,500 a refurbished Crown Vic costs, the reluctance makes a lot of sense.

The LA Times article (see link above) points out the same concerns about partitions that the NY cabbies have.

One complicating factor is the Los Angeles requirement that cabs have safety partitions to protect drivers. Before the thick plastic shields were mandated in 1993, taxi drivers were being murdered at a rate of one every 18 months. Since then, only two cabbies have been killed by robbers in their car, Drischler said.

"It's hard to put a safety shield in a Prius," but surveillance cameras might be an option, he said.

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