There are several things I love about taxis. I love to interview the driver, especially if I’ve had a glass of wine or two at the bar.
I love to sit in the front seat of the taxi. Mostly this is because I haven’t owned or had a car at my disposal for several years. So when I’m paying for one, I want the view!
I used to love the types of cars that are classic taxis: sedans with leather seats, and really springy shocks.
Since coming to Vancouver, I’ve had to trade my love for the types of taxis I’m used to for the taxi car type that is taking over here: the Toyota Prius, a hybrid.
No leather seats, more space age than spacious, and it feels like a go-cart from the back and front seat. But on principle, I’m thrilled, even if taking a taxi feels less swanky and superfluous now.
Tonight I stopped the first available taxi that came by, a Prius, of course. I warned Gurjit, the driver, that I was going to ask him questions. He asked what I’d pay him for his answers. Clever businessmen, these hybrid taxi drivers!
“But, hurry!” I said. “Get that hybrid hybridizing! We’re running late for our movie.”
Gurjit used to work at a Toyota dealership. So he knows the selling features of the Prius.
He likes it better than the Camry that he used when he first started driving a taxi in Vancouver. He rattles off the reasons why: the Prius is more reliable, has a bigger trunk, it’s quieter, and it handles better.
It also saves him some money. Gas costs are cheaper.
Gurjit doesn’t mention anything about climate change or air pollution. Maybe that’s because it’s obvious that the Hybrid is an improvement, or maybe the environmental benefits of hybrid taxis don’t affect him that much personally.
He says New York City paid attention to what was happening in Vancouver with greener taxis and implemented their own plan to hybridize the iconic taxi fleet there.
We arrived. We were five minutes late for the movie.
“Did you get that all of that information written down?” Gurjit asked as I slid out of the taxi. “So what are you going to pay me for it?”