It's Not Easy Being Green
You know who deserves a big old round of applause? The hard-working cabbies of City Cab Co. and United Independent Taxi Co. of Burbank for going against the grain and going green.
According to an article by Bob Pool of the Los Angeles Times, the cab companies of Burbank are promising the city that all cabs added to their fleets will have low-emission hybrid engines or use alternative fuels like natural gas.
The cab companies are trying to be forward-thinking and attentive to the needs of their employees by ensuring that their drivers get more bang for their buck at the gas station. Hybrid cars, whether you're an environmentalist or not, are proven to go farther on less fuel. That's an equation any driver can get behind.
But what seems like an obvious choice in favor of the climate crisis, and an alternative to the life-draining bondage at the gas pumps is still a sacrifice for the cab drivers themselves. Because United Independent Taxi is a taxi association, its drivers own their own vehicles. And because they own their own vehicles, they have to buy those vehicles out of their own pocket.
Customarily taxicabs are retired Crown Victoria police cruisers or purchased from police auctions and refurbished for an average cost of $6,500. The cost of the hybrid machines is quite a bit more daunting; on average form $25,000 to $32,000.
So, is it fair that the cabbies should have to foot the bill for this socio-environmental switch? No, it isn't fair. They should at least have help. They should only have to pay a portion of the cost of the new and necessary vehicles.
But it is still very noble that they are moving forward despite a lack of help.
They are looking to the future. These Burbank cabbies are trying to look beyond the normal, traditional, hackneyed way of doing things and asking themselves, "what will be the best for my children? What will be best for the planet?" And that is the sort of thinking everyone should be doing now.
This sets an example for the rest of the working class. It allows people to realize that despite how tight the economy is right now, there are options. Everyone can help. The little sacrifices go a long way.
This is a prime example of everyday, nameless Americans exercising the oft-forgotten American spirit; the little voice that urges us to do what is right despite a lack of thanks, applause or parades.
These men and women are taking pride in their job, trying to make the most of what they have. They have a cab and they can save the world with it. More than the lessening of polluted fumes, it is this spirit remaining alive that is the greatest and most hopeful sign that change is possible and perhaps even imminent.
Burbank isn't the first city with its eyes and gas pedal aimed toward fuel independence. New York, Seattle, and San Francisco have already begun their city's taxicab alternative fuel programs and Los Angeles is close behind with one of their own.
So, these Burbank cabbies aren't the only ones jumping on the hybrid bandwagon and they certainly weren't the first, but because they jumped, at least they won't be the last. Peer pressure is great when it works for positive goals.
Next time you're in Burbank and you find yourself in a new hybrid cab, take a second to appreciate this tiny step forward for our state, country and planet as a whole. Salvation is riding behind the plastic security shield.