Fleet Owners Sue City on Hybrid Cab Rules
A taxi industry group filed a lawsuit [pdf] in federal court on Monday seeking to block a city requirement that all new taxis meet stringent fuel efficiency standards that would make most cabs hybrid vehicles, a key part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s push to cut pollution and make city policies more sensitive to environmental concerns.
The city’s new taxi rule, which is set to go into effect on October 1, requires that all new taxis have a fuel efficiency rating of at least 25 miles per gallon for city driving, a standard that is currently met mostly by hybrid vehicles.
In the lawsuit, lawyers for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, which represents large fleet owners, charge that the rule violates federal laws that say only the federal government can set rules on fuel efficiency and vehicle emissions. (The lawsuit was also filed on behalf of a driver and companies that own and lease cabs.)
The lawsuit also claims that hybrid taxis are unsafe, in part because they are smaller and lighter than the Ford Crown Victoria, the standard taxi cab for many years, making passengers and drivers inside the hybrids more susceptible to injury in an accident.
A spokeswoman for the city legal department declined to comment on the suit, saying that city lawyers had not yet received the legal papers. TheTaxi and Limousine Commission has previously said that it is confident that the hybrid cabs are safe.