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New York Taxis Will Go Hybrid

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the gotta-medallion? dept.

United States 322

Jason Siegel writes "The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has approved the Clean Air Taxicabs Pilot Program Act, paving way for a hybrid car to be approved for NY taxi service by this fall. Soon, a large portion of New York's yellow cars will also be "green." According to the Coalition Advocating for Smart Transportation (CAST) poll, seven out of ten of the state's citizens support a switch to hybrids." New York might also reduce car pollution by loosening the rules for running a taxi, in order to reduce the need for private cars.

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FP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022390)

NY HYBRID TAXIS ARE DYING>

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

A step in the right direction (0)

Grep*coke* (897789) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022392)

But do they really think that one city will change anything? I think this is a step in the right direction if everybody starts using more efficient/ less waste cars, but why make such a big deal over the first step?

Re:A step in the right direction (4, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022417)

But do they really think that one city will change anything? I think this is a step in the right direction if everybody starts using more efficient/ less waste cars, but why make such a big deal over the first step?

Because it's a bit hard to take a second step before you've taken your first one?

Besides, this isn't the first such programme. Even in India, buses, taxis and rickshaws are required to use CNG, compressed natural gas, which is less poluting than traditional vehicle fuels.

Re:A step in the right direction (3, Insightful)

johnpaul191 (240105) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022428)

well, NYC is the biggest city in the country.
NYC also has its share of gridlock and stop and start driving. isn't that the kind of driving that can be handled well by a hybrid? i realize the cabbies will have to be instructed on the techniques that optimize efficiency of a hybrid. when you spend your working hours driving a car around and when the high cost of gas effects your bottom line, you will probably do what you can to get that extra mileage.
at the same time it will help the rest of the population by lowering pollution.

Re:A step in the right direction (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022456)

Because if you don't make a big deal over the first step there might not be a second. Like the first time your little child successfully uses the toilet all by him or herself, you make a big deal over it. See?

Re:A step in the right direction (4, Informative)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022479)

But do they really think that one city will change anything?
I don't know if you have spent any time in NYC, but, man, its like HUGE.

AKA, there's over 8 million people in the area, and from the FA there are over 50,000 cabs, and considering how often cabs spend time idoling in traffic (hybrids power down when stuck in traffic, which is why city MPG are often higher than highway, unlike every other car), just the reduction of cab produced smog alone would be worth every penny. Considering the MPG, most cab companies would save money over the long run.

Re:A step in the right direction (2, Interesting)

lordkuri (514498) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022534)

hybrids power down when stuck in traffic, which is why city MPG are often higher than highway, unlike every other car

in-town driving is also a lot of stop-and-go, and regenerative braking [wikipedia.org] helps out a lot in those situations as well.

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022790)

AKA? Sorry, but AKA stands for Also Known As, and I'm sure this isn't what you meant.

Re:A step in the right direction (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022495)

This isn't just "one city". This is New York City. The biggest in the country (don't give me any BS about LA, which isn't a city at all, but a county, a mutant suburb). Clogged with cars, though few New Yorkers own one. When you get the equivalent of 24K cars to stop pumping filth into the air, especially in the 26 sq mi of Manhattan, you're taking back breathing for about 10M people. That's a big change. Even if no one else ever follows our lead, we're better off - which is what we care about in NYC: doing right by ourselves first.

But others will follow. Not only does our size set the pace for lots of other cities, globally, but we're smart. When we figure out how to do things, we do it right, and others follow us. If you don't know why NYC is a "big deal", you haven't been here, or you don't know the meaning of the words "big" or "deal".

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

bumptehjambox (886036) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022591)

When you get the equivalent of 24K cars to stop pumping filth into the air

Oh come off it now! Maybe if New Yorkers didn't fancy taxis made of gold bringing them about they'd all use the damn subway!

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022754)

Look, the taxis just match the streets, which are paved with gold. That's why the subways are all so empty all the time, right?

Maybe if Governor Pataki would make his MTA, which runs the subways, finish some new stations, or lines, or just connections between the stations, the midtown congestion wouldn't leave so much of the rest of the system bottlenecked into underuse. Hell, maybe if they had more than a few cleaning cars scrubbing the tracks, so they weren't like high-voltage rollercosters through a sewer, more people would be willing to wait on the piss-soaked platforms. Or if the stations could tell you where are the cars on their way, like on the maps, people could know which train and route to take, rather than the frantic guesses in the split-seconds before the doors slam shut. This is 2005: we should be able to hit the MTA website, even on our smartphones, and get the realtime best route between any two points, accounting for congestion and delays. Instead, we've got a signaling system from 1937.

Maybe if Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg, or MTA Chairman Kalikow were required to take the subways to work, they'd fix them. Chicago requires it's transport chief to actually drive a bus for one month every year, and it's not notoriously filthy, dangerous and unpredictable.

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

Mike Schiraldi (18296) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022829)

Mayor Bloomberg famously does take the subway to work.

Re:A step in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022655)

Why did you bring up LA? There is an LA city and an LA county, but the city is much smaller in population than New York, and while the county is slightly more populous than NYC I'm sure is has only a small percentage of the taxis of New York.

Now, the largest city in the USA is Juneau, Alaska, with an area of 3081 square miles. The people there are the ones who might argue with you.

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

Mike Schiraldi (18296) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022738)

Exactly -- New Yorkers rarely notice that there's a "rest of the country" out there, and if the project makes sense here, that's all that matters. Who cares whether or not these alleged "other cities" follow suit?

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022518)

but why make such a big deal over the first step?

Neil Armstrong: "This is one small step for man... Aw, now then why am I even opening mah big yap in the first place?"

*cough cough* (5, Funny)

kensavage (898559) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022400)

Now if they can only clean out the inside of the cars too.

Part of the fun of riding in taxis (4, Interesting)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022404)

Part of the fun of riding in taxis is being able to ride in a Police Interceptor. Nothing like going 0-60 in 5s while slipping into some godawful tight opening on the left lane on Fifth Avenue.

But this should be good. Hybrid vehicles really shine in urban congested traffic anyways (lots of stops and crawls)

If it is so good... (-1, Flamebait)

mi (197448) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022464)

Hybrid vehicles really shine in urban congested traffic anyways (lots of stops and crawls)

Why then, does the government need to do it? Oh, wait, this is New York we are talking about...

The city of Rent Control and of more Che Guevarra fans, than there are in South America (proportionally).

Flamebait my behind...

Re:If it is so good... (1, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022544)

Because, as you point out, NYC is the home of some extremely shortsighted capitalists who would otherwise ruin our city. So we've invented some ways to rein them in. Now, I don't know what in what godforsaken hole you make your burrow home. But come to NYC some time, and we'll show you how free you truly are, when the people have a government keeping the Robber Barons off your back.

To counter your deluded post directly: since they could save at least 50% on gas, why haven't the taxi fleet owners already upgraded, as they buy new vehicles? Are they all "Che Guevara fans"?

Re:If it is so good... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022590)

They haven't already upgraded because they don't buy
"new" vehicles, they buy retired police cars with 250K (or whatever) miles on them already. In other words, they're not going to spend (at least) $20K extra per car just to save gas, unless the government forces them to.

Re:If it is so good... (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022687)

Some do buy used cars, police or otherwise. Others buy new cars. Then they spend big bucks upgrading them to spec. Cabbies have told me it cost them anywhere from $10-25K upgrading cars.

I don't think that hybrids cost $20K more than their non-hybrid competition. If gasguzzling cabs get something like 10MPG, the way I do in NYC traffic (in my 25MPG highway car), and gas is $2.50:gallon, that's $0.25:mile. $10K is 40K miles, which cabs probably do in 6 months. So even a $20K premium on a hybrid (which doesn't exist) is repaid in a year. Cabs seem to stay on NYC streets for about 5 years, so that's a 4:1 payback, of a significant investment (again, assuming the investment is anything like that large - otherwise it's a much higher rate of return on a small investment).

Then consider the halved refueling downtime, among NYC's scattered gas stations and fleet garages, and the money is really compelling. Since NYC pays for lots of services related to gas consumption (fuel transport regulation, asthma healthcare, etc), it's got its own financial stake. Then consider the less-direct savings, in breathable air, less-dirty buildings, less dependence on foreign oil, and hybrids are the way to go.

Re:If it is so good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022715)

NYC lives off of these " extremely shortsighted capitalists" and you know that damn well.

Your city will be ruined if your fucking commies take it over and run out all these "evil & greedy" from the town.
That will be end of it.

Re:If it is so good... (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022792)

Nobody asked you for your harebrained binary advice about NYC. We've got a pretty good balance, with ups and downs, between the people and the corporations. We don't "run out evil & greedy" people from NYC. We do make stupid loudmouths look like monkeys when they talk bullshit about "commies" and other crap like you. The biggest ruination of NYC has been all the out-of-towners who moved here during the bubble, pretending to be New Yorkers, when all they know is where the Starbucks is. It's watering down our image, so that even yapping Anonymous Cowards, too gutless to have an NYC street argument out in the open, think you have clue #1 about what goes on here.

Re:If it is so good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022849)

even yapping Anonymous Cowards, too gutless to have an NYC street argument out in the open, think you have clue #1 about what goes on here.

And what, "Doc Ruby" is your real name? I don't see you giving out your location so some slashdot nerds can come down and dribble on you, why not, you're such a tough New Yorker, right?

Re:If it is so good... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022742)

NYC is the home of some extremely shortsighted capitalists who would otherwise ruin our city.
You have abundant evidence lined up, I'm sure...
Now, I don't know what in what godforsaken hole you make your burrow home.
I spend a lot of time in New York and "being truly free" is the last sentiment that comes to my mind, when I'm here. People tend to be rude, nasty, and obnoxious. They are noisy and would not yield a seat on a subway. Service in most businesses is awful.

Getting out of the city is what makes one appreciate America... Trully, Jefferson was dead right in his prediction:

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
But come to NYC some time, and we'll show you how free you truly are, when the people have a government keeping the Robber Barons off your back.
Really? They do? All those trade union cum mafiosos do? You did not "keep them off" anybody's backs, you are proud of them -- and keep reminding the critics, how Mafia helped America invade Italy (!).
since they could save at least 50% on gas, why haven't the taxi fleet owners already upgraded, as they buy new vehicles?
Because the 50% (if that) is not sufficient to justify the cost of a new car?

Or because they have no money left after paying $800K for the taxi medallion -- through an artificially maintained government monopoly?

The cost of fuel is only a small part of what they are paying...

Are they all "Che Guevara fans"?
No "Che Guevara fans" ride in their taxis and complain to police, when they find out, the cabbie happens to like Bush.

Re:If it is so good... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022698)

The taxi commission in NYC, in addition to issuing medallions and driver credentials, approves the models of cars allowed to be used as yellow cabs. Until this announcement, no hybrid models were approved.

You can take this as an example of silly over-regulation, but I and many other New Yorkers find a compelling interest in uniform equipment, verified vehicle safety, and the other regulated aspects. Deregulation would be a zoo, and life here is hard enough already -- it's nice to be able to rely on yellow cabs.

Now I'll agree it was dumb when the taxi commission sold some medallions specifically for hybrid cabs -- at a discount, to encourage the conservation aspect -- more than a year before they approved use of any actual hybrid car. The medallion owners had to sue to get their attention. NYTimes had a story on this several weeks back.

Re:Part of the fun of riding in taxis (1)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022501)

Rest assured that Ford will probably come out with a Crown Vic Hybrid if this becomes a popular idea. Or more likely, a Five Hundred Hybrid, since they appear to be wanting to get all their large cars on the Volvo platform.

Rise of the Mutants! (0, Flamebait)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022409)

Most New York taxis were driven by mutants, and now the cars will match.

Re:Rise of the Mutants! (1)

kensavage (898559) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022434)

hahaha true. WHy is that? Boston atleast has a nice mix of people.

Re:Rise of the Mutants! (1)

bumptehjambox (886036) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022624)

Boston atleast has a nice mix of people.

Ah yes, rich snobbish college kid know-it-alls, slightly less rich snobby college kid know-it-alls, over-privileged white college kid know-it-alls and Berklee students.
(the latter may have been a bit redundant)

Vancouver as well, I think (4, Interesting)

shut_up_man (450725) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022414)

I've seen quite a few shiny new Prius [toyota.com] taxis here in Vancouver with Yellow Cabs. I had a quick chat to one of the drivers and he said he didn't really care about the environment, it's that hybrids cost less to run when petrol gets expensive.

Re:Vancouver as well, I think (4, Interesting)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022542)

Our family owns a first generation Prius, and a couple weeks ago we ordered a second generation one to replace it (better crash test rating). It costs me less than 20 bucks to fill up the tank, whereas a comparable volvo would cost 45 bucks. When our battery eventually died after three years, Toyota replaced it for free under their good will program. When you combine the 50% gas savings with the tax rebate you get for buying it, this thing has saved us several thousand dollars.

You don't live in the Bay Area. (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022802)

Gas runs at $2.50/gal here. I have a 2001 Prius and it takes $25-26 to fill with about 9-10 gallons(?) of 87 unleaded. (The tank holds 11.9 gal.) For that $26 I get about 450 miles.

The display shows a running histogram of mileage. Generally you get 25 mpg during the first five minutes after a cold start. After that, 50 mpg and above is typical. (On the highway. In the city the car is really miserly with fuel- over 60 mpg.)

There was a recall on the batteries recently, because of some problem with leakage. So I got a brand new battery for free a few months back when the car was at the dealer for regular maintenance. Which is nice, because they're expensive (about $8k I've heard).

One thing you have to watch out for is the LRR (low rolling resistance) tires that are standard on the Prius. They wear out after about 30000 miles. You can replace them with real tires, which last twice as long but incur a 3 mpg fuel penalty. If you figure an average of 45 mpg, you're buying 666 gal of fuel over the lifetime of the tire, costing $1666 at $2.50 per gallon (Bay Area). So that times 3/45 is in the ballpark of about $100 of saved fuel- about 25 gallons. It's probably cost effective to replace the tires but environmental and laziness concerns have to be weighed in as well. (All these numbers are from memory, so I may be a bit off.)

Re:Vancouver as well, I think (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022827)

Heh, similar to the reason my dad bought an Insight.

at 60-70 mpg (life avg 58 mpg, mostly city), the car nearly "paid for it's own insurance in gas savings"

Grump

Re:Vancouver as well, I think (1)

NardofDoom (821951) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022723)

This is especially true as taxi drivers tend to be in the city more, where they can take advantage of the Prius' hybrid technology.

English? (4, Funny)

NightWulf (672561) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022416)

Great so it's good to know the taxi will run cleaner as the cab drivers misinterprets "34th and Lexington" for "Take me to Staten Island, and let's go through Queens!"

Re:English? (4, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022574)

Not really a mistake: I think that's "english", as in a crafty spin on a pool ball designed to score more points with a more complicated path. But on a meter, rather than into a pocket.

Correction: (4, Informative)

immel (699491) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022438)

The poll cited New York City residents only. Headline says NY state.

This story is really only about one city. Too bad, too. The effect would be much more drastic on a state level. I wouldn't mind seeing green taxis in Albany or Rochester, either.

Re:Correction: (1)

greenhybrid (882786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022451)

Oops. Sorry about that. My mistake.

Re:Correction: (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022662)

Yeah because we already don't pay enough for taxis in rochester.

Re:Taxis in Rochester? (1)

DAE51D (776260) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022762)

Wow. i was born and raised in rochester till 1996, then moved west. I never thought of Rochester as having taxis driving around like other cities. sure you can CALL one, but I don't think I've ever seen one just driving around looking for a fare. I guess my home-town is growing up... *sniffle*

roblimo ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022440)

What chance then that other drivers-for-hire -- such as slashdot editor roblimo [roblimo.com] -- may switch to hybrid vehicles?

Re:roblimo ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022480)

that's quite a loose usage of the word 'editor'!

environment (3, Funny)

mikejz84 (771717) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022442)

If they wanted to have cabs be better for the environment, they could start with having the drivers ware deodorant. Of course now I am excited about the smaller hybrids, that means the urine has smaller area to collect.

week-old news.. americans like their space (4, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022443)

Read about it over a week back at CNN; http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/07/01/green.t axis.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

I found this to be particularly amusing :
The problem, explained commission chairman Matthew W. Daus, is that people like their cabs big, and hybrids do not have the legroom and large trunks of the fleet's current workhorse, an extra-long version of the Ford Crown Victoria.

Re:week-old news.. americans like their space (1)

Temporal (96070) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022580)

Toyota sells an SUV hybrid (the Highlander). More larger cars will be fitted with hybrid engines soon enough. I even read a rumor that a hybrid Hummer is in the works. I'm sure the target market for such a vehicle is very excited -- both of them.

(I get my Prius on Wednesday! Woohoo!)

Re:week-old news.. americans like their space (2, Insightful)

lheal (86013) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022613)

I found this to be particularly amusing ... "...people like their cabs big..."

I live in the American Midwest, where we all drive our own cars everywhere. I don't take cabs much. When I do, I don't care how big they are, as long as they're clean and there.

I'd say it's the cabbies, who have to ride in them all day, who want the things big. And the cab companies, who want their vehicles to last more than a week. Nah, the companies probably don't care.

Maybe I'm wrong about all of it. Maybe most people would rather ride in the spacious rear cabin of a land yacht than in the cramped back seat of an econobox.

Personally, I'd rather drive.

Re:week-old news.. americans like their space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022629)

Well, duh. Independent of other considerations, anybody would want more space.

Would people be willing to __pay__ for that extra space, though? Maybe. Nothing wrong with having both types of taxis available, and letting people choose which ones they prefer. If the hybrid taxis really are more efficient, the taxi companies would be switching to them on their own. Let the people decide.

The annoying thing about this was that there was ever a need for a "decision" by some commision. I had heard about this dispute before- the very fact that such a commision could forbid legitimate operators from using green taxis is silly. Taxi service isn't like food & the FDA where the public has a certain need for standardization; if a car is road-safe, there shouldn't be any reason why I can't use it as a taxi.

Re:week-old news.. americans like their space (1)

greenhybrid (882786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022683)

Well, that's honestly the way it is. Only certified car models can be New York City taxis.

Re:week-old news.. americans like their space (1)

Gadgetfreak (97865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022771)

That's exactly the problem. Regardless of your own interpretation of American portliness or greed, the Ford Escape hybrids they plan on using have 10" less rear leg room than the long wheelbase Crown Vics. That's a HUGE difference.

Cabs really ought to be larger station wagons, or even minivans. Hybrid or not, if I'm paying for a ride somewhere, I'd like to be able to get in and out easily, and be somewhat comfortable.

If I was cramming in the back seat of a buddy's car for a 5 minute ride to the pub, I wouldn't care. But unless they're going to pass on the hybrid gas savings to the customer, then envoronmentalism isn't enough to deal with that lack of space.

If I'm in NYC taking a cab, it means I didn't drive my car there, I took the train that was already running. That means at least 8 gallons less gas was used in my overall visit, which is good enough.

I just don't thin a hybrid taxi is worth the cost, especially considering that nobody really knows the maintenance cost or durability of them. I bet they lose money.

BTW, does anyone know what they do with the batteries in a junked Hybrid??

Re:week-old news.. americans like their space (1)

nunchux (869574) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022781)

The problem, explained commission chairman Matthew W. Daus, is that people like their cabs big, and hybrids do not have the legroom and large trunks of the fleet's current workhorse, an extra-long version of the Ford Crown Victoria.

Right, but keep in mind we are talking about taxis... Which, in a city where many if not most of the population doesn't have a car, is the major (if not only) way to transport luggage to and from the airport, or a heavy item or even more than two sacks of groceries from the store to their house. Not to mention, they need to be able to accomodate four people (plus the driver) and their stuff in reasonable comfort. It's not quite the same to say "People like their cabs big" as "Big fat Americans love their big fat cars."

Global warming & hybrids (-1, Troll)

BeatlesForum.com (545967) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022448)

To balance out the environmentalists point of view, please note that the SE United States temperature has increased approximately 1 degree F over the last 100 years - and most of that was before the 1940's.

It's very possible we are coming out of a mini ice age and not affecting the global weather patterns by our emissions that the media reports (speculatively, I might add). I believe science should provide definitive proof that man-made emissions are causing global warming and it's not a cyclical earth pattern or sun spots before we force governments and corporations to spend money on what are almost always costly solutions to reduce greenhouse gas. If you think Wal-Mart is evil from running small Mom & Pop shops out of town, wait until the environmentalists have their way and force cuts in corporate employment to pay for the additional regulations. Or better yet, get ready to pay more for products you buy every day because the environmentally-friendly (and most often liberal) media has shoved the green movement down our throats for so long and corporations that do not lay off people are forced to raise prices to fit the new eco-model. Mr. Bush has been smart to not sign the Kyoto protocol as it could damage the economy - one that is now returning well since its downturn in November, 2000, despite the huge increase in petroleum prices.

Re:Global warming & fundamentalists (-1, Flamebait)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022516)

Nice troll.

Your sig says you're ready for the Rapture. It's easy to not give a flying fig about the environment when your ideology says you're going to be transubstantiated into Heaven when the End Times come.

The rest of us would at least like a nice, clean place to do battle with the minions of the Antichrist while you're hobnobbing with Him.

So buy a Prius for the people who aren't raptured on the first round.

Re:Global warming & fundamentalists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022536)

How is he a troll?! He is presenting another side of the argument and he did so in a kind manner. Apparently that isn't allowed here.

Just because you disagree doesn't mean it's a troll.

Re:Global warming & fundamentalists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022547)

As a Christian I'd just like to let you know we are not all like that whackjob. There are many of us who believe that God wants us to take care of His Creation, not destroy it for selfish ends. I worship God, not Mammon.

One of my favorite quotes is "Don't tell me you are a Christian, let me see that you are a Christian."

Re:Global warming & hybrids (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022522)

That could very well be true, but thats hardly the only issue at play here.

Saving money on gasoline consumption, reducing our consumption of oil overall (We're gonna run out, sooner or later!), and reducing our pollution are all obviously good things with immediate benefits.

I'm not with the far-left environmentalist movement, but I do believe that our wasteful use of energy is something we need to deal with culturally.

I don't think the media is liberal. Its just a perception that people have because the news reporting doesn't always the viewer's own political views. The fact that both the left and right criticize the media for being biased would confirm this, at least anecdoctally.

By the way, if it wasn't for the green movement, pollution would be a much BIGGER problem than it is today. Thanks to many of the reforms implemented, we have stopped companies from totally wasting our rivers with dangerous contaminants, for example. There is a concept called "dont shit where you eat". I think that applies well here. The environment is certianly not the same way it was before we started becoming a heavily industrialized world. Something we should consider before just having knee-jerk reactions calling for more consumption.

Re:Global warming & hybrids (1)

SupaKoopa (835066) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022628)

even if global warming is a myth, concocted by a conspiracy between environmentalists, those dastardly liberals, and the shadowy organization of Jews controlling the media, is it still such a bad thing to try to reduce pollution from cars?

Re:Global warming & hybrids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022783)

He didn't say global warming is a myth. He said there isn't proof connecting green house gases and global warming. There is evidence showing that the tempture rise we've observed so far is probably part of global tempture cycles.

As for reducing pollution from cars, meh. Show me benefit beyond a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Re:Global warming & hybrids (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022645)

Let's think about this for a minute: If we do nothing and the environmentalists turn out to be right, we're screwed. On the other hand, if we go ahead and reduce our pollution output and it turns out global warming doesn't exist, then we've merely wasted* money. I, for one, would rather be poor than dead.

*let alone the fact that it wouldn't even be a waste then -- reducing pollution via reducing fossil fuel use would have other benefits, such as allowing people with asthma to be able to breathe in the cities (and possibly stopping kids from contracting it in the first place), stopping acid rain, reducing dependence on foreign oil, etc.

Re:Global warming & hybrids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022725)

Let's think about this for a minute: If we do nothing and the environmentalists turn out to be right, we're screwed. On the other hand, if we go ahead and reduce our pollution output and it turns out global warming doesn't exist, then we've merely wasted* money. I, for one, would rather be poor than dead.
And if the environmentalist of the early 70s were right and the pollution was the only thing holding off a new ice age, we'd be really really screwed.

Just keep in mind that global warming or status quo aren't the only possible changes to the earths climate.

I'd rather spend money to figure out where the earth's climate is headed, how much of that is man made, and what would be effective measures to counteract that. (Assuming that the "new" climate is less optimal that the current one.)

However you do have a good point about improving the air quality in cities for the inhabitants of those cities. Smog really sucks to breath.

Re:Global warming & hybrids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022874)

In many instances environmentally friendly alternatives are not always more expensive than the standard versions. In some instances they can be cheaper.

There is a US building code (I have forgotten the acronym) concerned with energy efficient buildings. The changes typically add 2% to the capital cost of an office building but reduce energy usage by 30%, typically paid for within 2 years. Thus if the office building is up for more than 2 years it is CHEAPER! Also the extra use of natural light in the designs seem to result in higher worker productivity.

Re:Global warming & hybrids (4, Informative)

coshx (687751) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022703)

I'm not even sure if this deserves a response, but...

1) source? you really shouldn't quote numbers without a link.

2) data manipulation? what about the rest of the US.? you know, the part closer to the north pole?

3) do your fucking research! It is NOT very possible that we are coming out of a mini ice age. In fact, almost all scientists (especially those not employed by polluting industries) agree that this is not the case. You may have been misinformed by media that often quote radical scientists when trying to present a "balanced" report:
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1978 [fair.org]

4) You believe that science should provide proof that greenhouse gases cause global warming?
How about all the information here: http://unfccc.int/essential_background/items/2877. php [unfccc.int]

Oh that's right, you're going to say that we shouldn't trust the UN, even if these reports are published by the top scientists in the world? Well, didn't you take high school chemistry? Anyone with knowledge of simple chemistry will tell you of the potential dangers of green house gases. (yes, i say potential here to be diplomatic -- see #7)

5) you like to separate yourself from "environmentalists", because you obviously don't care about the long-term environment, and would rather have cheap prices today than do your part in keeping the world safe for future generations? that's selfish and narrow minded.

6) ahh..environmentally-friendly liberal media. do you just like throwing around these sayings, because you've heard them so many times they must be true? are you really that stupid to fall into partisan name-calling tactics? anyway, in terms of environmentalism, the media is actually biased against environmentalism (see above link).

7) even IF we are at the end of a mini ice age (which is highly unlikely), you still must recognize the possible devastating effects of our continued release of so many green house gases into the atmosphere, and should especially be in favor of economically-friendly initiatives.

8) I'm not sure why you chose this forum to voice your support of Bush, and ignorance towards the Kyoto agreement. This story was about taxi drivers who drive environmentally-friendly cars because it is ultimately cheaper for them, hence invalidating your claim that environmentally-friendly products cost the consumer more.

9) There ARE environmentally-friendly solutions that are also economically beneficial. In fact, this is really the best way to get industries to act in the environment's (and hence, in OUR) best interest. Simple examples include environmentally-aware heating and air-conditioning, like placement of the windows, or having heat ducts near the floor instead of near the ceiling. More complex examples generally involve symbiotic relationships with our environment to utilize a renewable or recyclable resource.

10) Please leave your politics at the door, and before responding to an article with your bias, research the topic. Forget everything you think you know, and take a fresh look at the information available. It will only make you a smarter person.

Re:Global warming & hybrids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022831)

This is just not true. Even if we don't know for certain that man-made emissions are affecting global climate change, the potential costs are high, and the real cost of compliance is relatively low. I don't remember the specifics, but I have heard projected costs of reducing greenhouse emissions at a 10-15% increase in energy costs. Yet, over the past 5 years, gasoline prices have doubled, and other energy costs have also risen considerably. This has certainly hurt the economy, but as you say it is recovering, and I would hardly call what happened 'devastating' as Bush claims that they Kyoto protocol would have been.

Finally, while you can argue about whether the recent increases in global average temperatures are more due to man-made emissions or natural cycles, increasing atmospheric CO2 absolutely will in the long run increase global tempeartures. There is no scientific doubt on this subject, and any college physics student can calculate the effect. The evidence that human emissions are contributing to rising atmospheric CO2 is almost as certain, though the degree to which natural carbon sinks will compensate is not known, so we could be off in the time scale of the effect. Nevertheless, unchecked greenhouse emissions will eventually cause substantial climate change. There is absolutely no doubt about that, and anyone who tells you otherwise is ignorant, stupid, or lying.

Re:Global warming & hybrids (1)

Temporal (96070) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022838)

Please refer to the second graph here. [grida.no]

That's quite a spike we see in the last century. Yes, a lot of it was before the 1940's, but another big increase is in the last 20 years. Meanwhile, the last few centuries before this one show much less change.

Please don't say "1 degree is irrelevant". The difference between where we are now and an ice age is about eight degrees.

Another thought: Corporate America has a clear interest in convincing you that global warming is a non-threat. If they succeed at this, they earn more money. On the other hand, environmentalists have no such interest in convincing you of their side. They will not receive more money. In fact, in terms of money, they will probably end up worse-off, due to the economic damage their policies will create. Yet, they persist in arguing their case.

Who do you trust?

Link To NYC Hybrid Taxis (4, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022449)

The actual story about NYC hybrid taxis [statesman.com] is in an Austin, TX paper.

NYC could encourage this conversion to hybrids, which get better mileage, by offering rebates on other taxes on the hybrids, making them up by increasing them on the nonhybrids in taxi fleets. Maintaining the total tax collected, but distributed to favor the hybrids. Including the gas savings (50%) on gas, which is about $2.60:gallon in NYC these days (including other taxes), such a move could convert most of the 13K cabs clogging the streets with filth. Once a critical mass was achieved, including garage mechanics with mostly hybrid skills, the city could drop the regime.

I'll be suggesting this approach to the NYC City Council "Technology" committee [nyccouncil.info] that I advise. It would help for New Yorkers (and others) to send constructive comments supporting this move to the committee Chair, Councilmember Brewer. Politicians, especially in the City, love to get public support for specific initiatives, especially when the ball is already rolling like it is with the TLC. [nyccouncil.info]

A Different proposal (1)

Estragon (517492) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022774)

Why not a simpler way to encourage hybrids: You can exchange one current (non-hybrid) medallion for two hybrid medallions. We fill the streets with hybrids, create more competition, and collect more tax revenue.

Taxi regulatory standards (1)

TheScorpion420 (760125) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022457)

Taxi Stands: Dispatcher-operated taxi stands are available at major Manhattan transportation terminals, such as the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, Peter Minuit Plaza, the World Trade Center and the Citicorp Center. There are also 207 other taxi stands located at major transit hubs, office and retail centers, hospitals and hotels throughout Manhattan.


They still have a cabbie terminal? . . .

Re:Taxi regulatory standards (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022486)

Why wouldn't they? The PATH terminal isn't exactly small.

Re:Taxi regulatory standards (1)

noewun (591275) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022878)

Yep. There's a lot more down there than the World Trade Hole: the World Financial Center (across West Street from the WTC) is only the beginning of it.

The most perplexing question ever... (3, Insightful)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022467)

I propose two facts, that are incompatible.

1) Taxi Meddalions (the license to operate a taxi) can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I think I remember reading that one sold a few years ago for over $350,000.

2) The people driving the taxis, they don't look like the wealthy type.

They should deregulate all taxis. Maybe prices would fall if there was free competition. I know, on days I am short on money, I would like to slap a taxi sign on my car and drive down to the airport. A couple hours later, I would have enough money to go back to the bar.

And I love the idea of green friendly cars. I think it is a step in the right direction. But what would be better than legislation is a green friendly car that gets 60+ mpg and has a sticker price of around $9,000. They would sell like hotcakes (which I think the Geo did for a while).

Will we get a cheap green car? I think we will, but probably not from Ford, GM, or Chrysler. I bet it will come from a hyundi or some asian car. The most attractive thing about a green friendly car is the MPG it gets, which appeals to people who don't want to get raped at the gas pumps. Unfortunatly, those people are not the ones buying $50,000 SUV's, they are the ones in economy sized cars.

Lower the price, and everyone will be buying them.

Re:The most perplexing question ever... (2, Informative)

greenhybrid (882786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022514)

Actually, studies show that hybrid owners are much wealthier on average than the typical American. At the present, drivers don't necessarily save money with hybrids because of the premium for the technology. Those with the cash to spare often opt for a more environmentally-friendly solution that also reduces dependence on foreign oil. In the case of taxis, they're driven enough that breaking even is much more likely and the smog problem is also addressed. The issue about "room" in hybrids isn't really accurate. Besides the space for a battery pack, there really isn't much difference.

Re:The most perplexing question ever... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022731)

The issue about room in hybrids is accurate because the biggest one (that isn't an SUV) currently on the market is the Toyota Prius, and as a midsize car it's a heck of a lot smaller than a Crown Vic.

Re:The most perplexing question ever... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022619)

They should deregulate all taxis. Maybe prices would fall if there was free competition. I know, on days I am short on money, I would like to slap a taxi sign on my car and drive down to the airport. A couple hours later, I would have enough money to go back to the bar.

Because nobody in NYC would ever abuse the free-taxi system by slapping a taxi sign on their car and picking up people to rape or otherwise victimize...

Re:The most perplexing question ever... (1)

stu72 (96650) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022713)

Are you serious? Because of the rare chance that someone might abuse a freedom, it should simple not exist? Wow.

Re:The most perplexing question ever... (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022819)

Same could be said for locks on doors...
People could abduct others and LOCK THEM IN!!!
Imagine the possibilites for abuse!
Lets regulate them!

Re:The most perplexing question ever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022718)

Sadly the free market does not solve every problem. NYC taxis are relatively safe because they are regulated. I won't argue that there is somehting of a scam going with those medallions, but the regulation works.

The cab drivers don't make the bulk of the money.

Re:The most perplexing question ever... (1)

stu72 (96650) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022748)

Mod parent up - seriously.. Taxi regimes in most cities are nothing more than welfare for those that already own licenses. There is no doubt that for-hire vehicles need to be regulated in some manner to avoid congestion, but there are much better ways of doing it than simply not allowing any more cabs, i.e.

- legalize livery services (running a for-hire vehicle that picks up more than one customer)
- charge *all* vehicle owners a congestion charge for driving in the city without limiting their # - if congestion becomes worse, raise the charge - for-hire vehicles, esp. livery services, can spread that cost out among hundreds of customers during the day, making it much more economical than private car ownership.

Is there any good reason why a license to run a business should be the single largest cost in starting that business? When you start a restaurant, the cost of a business license is a miniscule part of the capital required, and look at the incredible variety of restaurants on offer in any large city.

Good step but a little late (2, Insightful)

Jeet81 (613099) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022482)

A lot of other cities have public transportation running on propane, etc. Many international cities have seen a lot of cut back in pollution just by switching the public transportation to a more environment friendly energy source.

Re:Good step but a little late (1)

Sir Mac Gyver (897325) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022599)

That's very true. In Argentina, where I live, all cabs use compressed natural gas... and lots of cars do too. It doesn't even requiere buying a special model of car. You can go to almost any car shop and ask them to modify your vehicle for around 350 USD and presto, you got yourself an hybrid car. Of course the only reason everyone does this is because gasoline is just too expensive, and natural gas is like 7 dollars a full tank. We are even exporting some of the technology, last I heard.

Re:Good step but a little late (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022670)

Yeah, what they really need are hybrid natural-gas cabs.

How about reducing the price of a medallion? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022492)

The reason NYC cabs suck so much is that there is an absentee landlord system for the licenses. Any city with this system has terrible cabs. The cab driver has to pay an exhorbitant rate to rent the cab or licence from the owner.

The city should issue a cab license to anyone who meet the standards and pays the fee. Let the free market take care of the rest.

Who is paying? (1)

Geancanach (652302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022519)

Who is going to be paying to replace all of these taxis? The companies who own the taxis and medallions? I've heard that taxi cars are actually replaced pretty often (about every 3 years I think) but will companies risk it? Also, the fact that the 10 inch loss in leg room is such a big deal just shows that we need to lose weight.

Re:Who is paying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022612)

What does weight have to do with leg room? If you're fat, does that mean your legs grow longer and you get magically taller? When you lose weight, does your whole body shrink and shrivel up to the size of a small child so you can fit into the tiny backseat of a hybrid? 10 inches is nearly a foot, that's a lot of space. Dumbass.

running a cab is expensive! (3, Interesting)

VoidEngineer (633446) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022521)

For those of you who don't live in New York City, you may be interested to know that it can cost upwards of $750,000 to obtain a licence/emblem to operate a yellow-cab. The licenses are actually physical emblems which are welded to the hood of the cab, and if you don't have one of those emblems, you can't paint your cab yellow without it getting impounded. As I understand it, the emblems are minted in a manner similar to how a coin or a police badge is minted.

Anyhow, the city has put a cap on the number of cabs which can operate in Manhattan (something like 200,000 cabs, I think), in part just by not minting and selling any new emblems. The law of supply-and-demand has, naturally, driven the cost of licenses up. Interestingly, a cab emblem is considered a piece of real-estate, as I understand, and can be placed in a will. Furthermore, they're considered suitable collateral for taking out a mortgage or loan similar to a home-equity loan. As I understand it, a motivated cabbie can earn a couple hundred thousand dollars a year. And, as you would expect in such a situation, there have formed many cab-companies which try to gobble up all the emblems that they can and hire imigrant drivers who earn a fraction of the profit they make, the rest going to the owners of the cab companies.

Naturally, there are other limosine and cab services which operate in the city. But they don't get to paint their cars yellow.

Anyhow, the moral of the story is that this is a huge decision, involving what I suspect is a billion dollar industry. I don't know exactly how big the new york yellow-cab industry is, but it's real big. And there's lots of money involved in this decision.

Not even in the right order of magnitude (4, Informative)

Hungus (585181) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022663)

You are off by a bit there .. As of 2004 emblems were selling for record amounts of 386,000 not quite the 750,000 you said and the number of taxicabs is set by law at 11,787, not quite the 200,000 upi claimed. No new taxi licenses have been issued for over half a century, making the taxicab medallion (which is merely an aluminum plaque bolted to the hood of each cab) the central symbol of the regulatory system.

forgotten citation (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022845)

I should have pointed out that the information I quoted came almost completely dirrectly from schallerconsult.com [schallerconsult.com]

Re:running a cab is expensive! (1)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022868)

Very interesting parent post.

For those who are interested, commercial fishing licenses are similar (at least here on the east cost of Canada, probably elsewhere). They cost hundreds of thousands, people get mortgages to buy them so they can start the trade; they leave them to their hiers or sell them just as property, and there are a limited number given out.

It really was eye opening to see the equity committment required by the fishing trade, on top of the sizable cost of the boat and equipment; it surprised me that taxi licenses in New York are similar.

So why exactly is this useful? (1)

jtrainor (820767) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022578)

Why would I want to pay an average of 15-20 bucks every time I go out somewhere just because the taxi runs cleaner?

Re:So why exactly is this useful? (1)

greenhybrid (882786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022593)

Who says you'd be paying more? The TLC actually regulates prices and they're all set at $2.50 + .40/mi or however that goes. Taxi companies pay a small bit more for the car and buy, perhaps, three times less gasoline. Who's payaing extra?

Oblg: ham radio post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022582)

Woohoo! It's awesome to see a ham radio article on Slashdot. Cheers for posting.

Re:Oblg: ham radio post (1)

greenhybrid (882786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022616)

Not sure what you mean... could you explain? This has made news from many different media outlets.

Re:Oblg: ham radio post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13022650)

You're kidding, right? ;-)

Re:Oblg: ham radio post (1)

greenhybrid (882786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022712)

No. And pardon me if I missed some sort of joke or insult.

Why is this relevant? (1)

thenewcloo (789980) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022602)

According to the Coalition Advocating for Smart Transportation (CAST) poll, seven out of ten of the state's citizens support a switch to hybrids."

i'm not really sure why this is relevant. i'm not sure who wouldn't want hybrid cars -- the limiting factor isnt the amount of people who want them, its the money itll take to switch over to them. a more relevant statistic would be how many people who own taxis and taxi services that would like to switch...

$$$! Where from? (1)

ilyanep (823855) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022603)

Now, how much will this cost the taxpayers of New York? Not to be a troll, but regardless of the need to be environmentally green it also helps to be monetarily green.

MixedPower.com Has a Lot More Hybrid Car Info (0, Troll)

curran (228669) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022837)

This had a little bit more in-depth discussion a few weeks ago at http://www.mixedpower.com/ [mixedpower.com]

Regarding Hybrid Cars - Check out the gas savings calculator at http://www.mixedpower.com/ [mixedpower.com] to see how much you can save with a hybrid vehicle. Most people are prety surprised at how quickly you recoup the "extra" cost, especially with rising gas prices.

If you are interested in Hybrid vehicles there is a lot more information there as well. The forums havea lot of good information and theres even a free buy and sell for hybrid stuff.

Cheers!

Re:MixedPower.com Has a Lot More Hybrid Car Info (1)

greenhybrid (882786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022848)

I highly discourage anyone from using that website. The owner violates copyright laws and steals its content from other sources.

"Green" Taxis (4, Funny)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022842)

So what's the big deal? I saw THOUSANDS of green taxis in Mexico City last time I was there. They all appeared to be made by volkswagen. And from the looks of them, they have had them there for many years!

Good pictures here: http://www.manganese.com/presentations/2004_interi m_results/index_files/TextMostly/Slide13.html [manganese.com]

I guess NY is just catching up with the rest of the world now???

Aren't hybrids terrible for city traffic? (1)

hirschma (187820) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022858)

I thought that hybrids were only efficient for highway driving, but not so great for stop-and-start traffic - and that "leadfoot" drivers also further reduce the efficiency (since the internal combustion engine is never shut down that way).

Am I missing something? Or is NYC seeing hybrids as a panancea that won't work? Perhaps just having smaller cars is the answer. And perhaps pouring the money into further improvements for public transport make even more sense. How about tax breaks for folks _without_ cars?

I'm largely ignorant about hybrids, so I'm not trolling, I'm asking. I did lookup up "Prius FAQ" on Google, and found this:

"Short trips KILL gas mileage." Isn't that what taxis do all day? Make lots of short trips?

jh

Why not go diesel? (1)

David Horn (772985) | more than 9 years ago | (#13022869)

Why don't they just run diesel engines? 50+ MPG, excellent performance, low emissions, and non of the hassle with batteries or motors.
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