Report: Hybrid Taxis Save Gas, Unsafe For Occupants

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
report hybrid taxis save gas unsafe for occupants

It was only a matter of time until someone had something negative to say about the ever-expanding fleet of hybrid taxis in New York City. While I’m not in the hybrid car fan camp generally, they make perfect sense for a place like Manhattan. Driving takes place nearly exclusively short of 30 mph (except for costly interboro trips), meaning the electric motor really gets a workout. They’re quieter, and considering the traffic density in Manhattan, the reduced emissions actually are appreciated. Not to mention, hybrids need high intensity field testing. What better than 24-hour a day abuse? Well, not everybody agrees with me. C. Bruce Gambardella, P.E., an engineer that claims to be nothing short of a world renowned expert in the field of taxi cabs, thinks the hybrids totally suck (paraphrasing). Mr. Gambardella’s report was funded by a lobbyist organization called the Metropolitcan Taxicab Board of Trade. We’ll give you one guess who they represent – the taxi owners. The report claims that the modifications required for hybrid taxis make them inherently unsafe. Among the charges: plexiglass partitions between the drivers and passengers will interfere with side airbag systems (how often do those go off when everybody drives under 20 mph?), that hybrids are unsafe as taxis because they aren’t built for heavy duty driving (Manhattan potholes apparently better the Rubicon), and because hybrids are horrible, terrible vehicles. Also, Gambardella reports, hybrids are for grandmothers and liberals. Taxicabs need to be robust Panther platform cars that get 11 miles per gallon. Oh, and the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade filed a lawsuit yesterday against the City of New York, fighting the requirement that all cabs switch over to hybrids in the next several years.

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  • R H R H on Sep 11, 2008

    Nicodemus : > Alot of the little mail trucks here have the steering wheel on the wrong side, and they are everywhere! I don't necessarily see why taxis have to be an exception....people get in the back. It doesn't matter if the steering wheel is on the right or left in the front since passengers (usually) don't sit there.

  • Dimwit Dimwit on Sep 11, 2008

    Given the sheer success of the London Cab I'm surprised something like that hasn't caught on over here.

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