All of San Francisco's taxicabs will be greener by 2011. On March 6 mayor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that will authorize a $7.50 surcharge to the "gate cap" in order to facilitate purchase of low emission vehicles. Previously, taxi company owners were allowed to charge their drivers a maximum of $91.50 per 10 hour shift for the use of the cabs. This bill will increase that amount by $7.50. All new cabs must already be hybrids or run on compressed natural gase (CNG).
According to one taxi driver, quoted on priuschat.com, "new taxi medallions issued in San Francisco must be [for] hybrid or alt fuel taxis."
CW Nevius reports on the impact the bill will have on cab drivers. "I am running my ass off for $150 a day," says Bud Hazelkorn of the United Taxicab Workers, "Sometimes you don't make that until 11 or 11:30 in the morning."
The bill also requires taxi companies to reduce average per vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2012. City supervisors expect to achieve zero gross greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 by permitting only zero emission vehicles in the taxi fleets.
Photo courtesy Athan R. at yelp.com