Boston has become the latest major U.S. city to require its fleet of taxis transition to hybrid power. Unlike similar mandates in New York City and San Francisco, which go into effect in 2012, Boston cabbies will have until 2015 to make the changeover to new vehicles with better fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Boston's mayor Thomas Menino issued the environmentally friendly dictum in a prepared statement, noting that "Requiring taxi cabs to go hybrid is an essential step in not only improving air quality but also improving the quality of our taxi fleet." The new standards are to be phased in over the normal six-year lifespan of a cab, although by 2010 about half of the existing fleet is expected to be hybrid.
Fundamental changes in the cab kingdom aren't just confined to America. On the same day Boston made its proclamation, Mexico's Municipal Transport and Road Ministry decreed the time had finally come to phase out the ubiquitous legion of VW Beetle cabs that dot Mexico City's streets and replace all of these relatively thirsty, high-polluting people movers with newer, greener alternatives. While the official timetable for the transition to occur is in 2012, the Spanish news agency Efe that reported the story noted that officials provided few specifics as to how it would take place or what vehicles would be used as taxis from that point on.