HRM councillors want to see more hybrid-car taxis on the road and are ready to change the rules to see it happen.
Tomorrow, regional councillors will vote on a recommendation to change the standards for taxis to allow smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. It is expected to pass easily.
“Among rational, thinking people, there should be no opposition to this,” said Coun. Steve Adams, who chairs the taxi commission.
“It won’t affect anyone adversely, and it just allows more (fuel-efficient) vehicles into the industry.”
Hybrid cars use less fuel and produce fewer harmful emissions. Adams estimates the rule change would allow a half-dozen more hybrid models to enter the taxi fleet.
But it’s still the choice of the cab drivers to buy hybrid vehicles, and the city will not be offering any financial incentive. Adams only knows of one hybrid taxi running now — there were two but one got into an accident, he said.
But other hybrid incentives do exist. Conserve Nova Scotia offers up to $3,700 to cab drivers who take part in a hybrid test project where they record mileage and gas use.
“I think what it just needs is one or two people to try it and see what the savings will be,” said Adams.
Mayor Peter Kelly expressed strong support for the plan. He said it is a way to reduce our environmental footprint without affecting service.
“It would be a great opportunity to show environmental leadership,” said Kelly. “We all have to do our share to help reduce the impact on the environment.”
HRM already owns Smart cars for bylaw enforcement, and Kelly sees more and more fuel-efficient vehicles being used by governments.
“As we look forward, that is the way to go. As the technology changes, we should change with that technology,” said Kelly.