Monday, March 10, 2008

The Greening of San Francisco Taxis

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, "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

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