EV Cabs Put on Hold

On December 10 County Board scuttled a plan to put 40 electric powered cabs (EVs) on Arlington streets, bowing to pressure from cab drivers who packed the County Board hearing room with gags in their mouths to signal their opposition both to the EVs and to Board Chair Mary Hynes’ decision to cut off public comment. As an inducement to approve the project EV Taxicabs had promised to install dozens of electric recharging stations around the county that would be available to the public free of charge. At first blush, EV taxis looked like a win-win for both Arlington residents and the environment. However, the Arlington Transportation Commission vetoed the project over concern whether the cabs could provide reliable service to/from Dulles Airport.

EV Taxis said its sophisticated dispatch system would direct only fully charged vehicles to the airport. The trip from Ballston to Dulles is 25 miles, and the range of a Nissan Leaf is 60-105 miles. So it would appear that drivers could do two round trips before recharging their vehicles, an operation that takes 30 minutes and one that drivers keen on capturing airport fares might try to put off. An EV driver who failed to recharge at Dulles might then find himself parked on I-395 on the return leg of the second trip, when his passenger decided he wanted to go to the Pentagon or Reagan Airport instead of Ballston.

Even more troubling were concerns by Arlington United Taxi Operators (AUTO) that there’s insufficient demand to put 40 additional cabs on the street. Taxi drivers would have to work even longer hours to make a living or be forced out of business all together. According to AUTO, going to work for EV Taxicabs wasn’t an option, because under the current taxicab ordinance the drivers are attached to county issued certificates, and the certificates are in turn attached to specific companies. AUTO tried negotiating with County Board to revamp the current taxicab ordinance to make it more equitable. But AUTO claims that County Board refused to even hold public hearings on their proposal.

This points out the Green Party’s position that environmental justice and social justice go hand and hand. Until Arlington adopts a taxi code that allows drivers to move freely from one cab company to another, cab drivers are going to fight the wholesale displacement of the current fleet with environmentally friendly vehicles.

13 thoughts on “EV Cabs Put on Hold

  1. Ted January 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Not true….the scoring system County Staff determined that EV Taxicabs offered by far the best deal for the drivers and the environment.

    • admin January 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm - Reply

      I don’t doubt that EV cabs are the best for the environment. The question is whether they are reliable and whether cab drivers would be displaced by dumpting 40 cabs on the county all at once.

  2. Ted January 5, 2013 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Did you ever read the staff report? The EV Taxicabs proposal was the best proposal for the drivers and the environment. EV was going to spend a lot of money to make sure things were done right. What everyone else was afraid of was EV and its drivers would do too well and take income away from them.

    County would not even go with a test fleet of 5 EV taxicabs. Something smelled about the deal.

  3. Audrey Clement January 5, 2013 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    As I understand it the Transportation Commission vetoed EV cabs because of its concern about the reliability of EV cab service to/from IAD given the limited range of EV cabs. The cab drivers were concerned about the income depressing effect of puttng 40 additional cabs on the street.

  4. Peter January 6, 2013 at 6:52 am - Reply

    Check out the staff report. Candidates for public office should be informed, not misinformed.

  5. Audrey Clement January 6, 2013 at 7:17 am - Reply

    What is your answer to the Transportation Commission’s concern that with a range of at most 100 miles and a recharge period of thirty minutes, cab service to/from IAD might prove unreliable?

    Also what is your answer to the cabbies’ complaint that 40 new cabs on the street would put them out of business?

  6. Peter January 6, 2013 at 7:39 am - Reply

    Why don’t YOU do your homework before asking any more questions of voters?

  7. Audrey Clement January 6, 2013 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    I attended the December 10 County Board meeting and read the accompanying staff report recommending EV cabs. Below are some of the online local newspaper articles I’ve read on the issue. I suggest that you review these articles before concluding that I haven’t researched the issue. You might learn something yourself.


  8. Ted January 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    FYI, Arlington Green Party is a club composed of about 5 active members who live in Westover and FC.

    • admin January 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      Jim, Of what relevance is this comment to the original post?

  9. April January 21, 2013 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Why couldn’t a few EV cabs have received certificates for test purposes?

  10. Arlington cabs August 25, 2013 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Totally agree with that decision of board!! But why they only put 40 electric powered cabs on Arlington streets. I hope people need more time to rely on these cabs services.

  11. Arlington Cabs Companies June 24, 2014 at 11:09 am - Reply

    I am very astonished by the data of this blog and i am happy i had a look in excess of the blog. thank you so much for sharing such great data.

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