Prius in NYC – the future is coming…

Dec 08, 2007 Published under Environment, Marketing, New York City

Earlier this week I rode on my first hybrid taxi in NYC and was ecstatic for a few reasons.

  • First because this environmental victory for all of us is the work of my friend Jack Hidary, who for years lobbied the NY State and City governments to reverse policies that actually prevented hybrids in the taxi fleets! (go figure!)
  • Even once hybrids were approved by the law, there were so many misconceptions and conspiracy theories preventing the taxi drivers from purchasing one, so Jack pulled off a creative guerrilla marketing coup: he hired a bunch of young people to go educate the taxi drivers on the financial benefits of hybrids to them; since time is money and drivers didn’t have time to just sit and chat, Jack handed out wads of $5 bills to his staffers, who’d take short rides on the taxis and strike conversations about the Hybrids…low and behold, it started working

IMG_0043     IMG_0042

  • Now the best part is that drivers are going wild now that they realize the benefits of driving a hybrid over a regular gas guzzler.  On my 10 minute ride one night in NYC, my driver got stopped TWICE by other taxi drivers, who asked him whether the shift to hybrid was worth it.  This was what the conversation was like:

Guzzler: "Hey, are you happy with the hybrid? What do you think? I am thinking about it but need to ask some questions.

Hybrid Driver: "There is nothing to ask"

Guzzler: "Is it worth it?"

H: "There is nothing to ask, I pay $8-10 in gas a shift.  You are paying $40 per shift."

G: "Can I lease your taxi for a shift to check it out?"

H: "There is nothing to check.  There is nothing to wait.  You can buy one of these with the gas you will save in the first year."

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