The Hidary Foundation, City Council of New York with special note to councilman David Yassky, and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission
NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, with the policy support of the City Council of New York and the advocacy of the Hidary Foundation, has opened the way for taxi drivers to use hybrid taxis. 1000 hybrid taxis are expected to be on the road by early 2008.
This project has changed city regulations and policy in order to integrate hybrid vehicles into one of the nation's most heavily used fleets of cars: the New York City taxi fleet.
Individuals benefit having an exposure to, and education about, hybrid vehicles that requires almost no investment or risk-taking. Society will benefit by the improved social acceptance and mainstreaming of hybrid vehicles, as well as the reduced pollution in New York City. This mainstreaming is not limited to New York; since many taxi customers are the 40 million tourists who visit the city each year, the education the taxis spreads around the country. Furthermore, Chicago and San Francisco have recently adopted policies based on New York's for their fleets. The environment will benefit the reduced carbon emissions and air pollution that result substituting hybrid taxis for conventional taxis.
The hybris taxis strengthen the mainstreaming of hybrid technology by exposing a large chunk of the mainstream to the vehicles, by providing them with a test-drive and an education that they might never seek out on their own. Hybrid taxi drivers frequently explain their car to customers--that it doesn't have to be plugged in, that the car hasn't stalled out but simply turned off while stopped to save energy, that the driver is saving thousands on gas--thereby educating the mainstream by experience. This mainstream is not limited to the city: many customers are tourists who bring their education back to their homes around the country and the world. The Hidary foundation has already received feedback taxi customers different cities, so they know the education is spreading.
The project impacts individuals through educating them about hybrid cars by experience. The ~300 hybrid taxis have served, conservatively, over 6 million customers so far, and each year they will provide an additional 6 million rides and opportunities for education. In 2008, the number of taxis is expected to get to 1000, providing an additional 13.3 million opportunities for individual education-by-experience. The project benefits society in New York City by reducing pollution and noise, and by providing residents and tourists with cleaner and more comfortable taxis. New York will also benefit having a green city project it can be proud of. Finally, Jack Hidary has already been a keynote speaker at the International Association of Transport Regulators, speaking to tranport officials over 70 major cities, about the benefits of the project. The societies of those cities will benefit the greening of their tranportation sectors in the same way New York has. The project helps the economy by easing the mainstreaming of hybrid vehicles, through education and through being the seed of a large purchasing block (taxi fleets). The environment benefits because of the approximately 7.5 million pounds of carbon emissions are avoided every year because of the first 300 hybrid taxis, and an additional 25 million will be avoided in 2008. The 1000 hybrid taxis expected by 2008 represent about 1/13 of the fleet. If the hybrids are truly mainstreamed and take over 75% of the fleet, the environment would be saved 240 million pounds of carbon emissions.
Ecological benefits are the reduced air pollution, mentioned above. Social sustainability is improved by increasing taxi drivers' profits (the hybrids help save several thousand a year on gas). Since the project facilitates the mainstreaming of hybrids, it enhances economic sustainability by reducing depenance on fossil fuels.
The project leverages clean energy by exposing the most possible people to hybrid cars, using the least amount of new cars and marketing costs. In other words, the taxis are extremely efficient as a means to educate the public and make them comfortable with the notion of hybirds, a means to making hybrids more mainstream. This public includes New York residents and tourists. Around 40 million people are drawn to New York City each year, and can take their hybrid education back to their home cities. The project has already been a model for similar hybrid taxi programs in Chicago and San Francisco. The project was the feature of the keynote address at the International Association of Transportation Regulators. The project has educated large numbers of people, both consumers and decision makers, in a very short period of time. The mainstreaming of hybrid taxis that is being triggered by this project can also provide the leverage of a large and consistent purchasing block for clean cars.