The Austin, Texas City Council recently gave preliminary approval to a plan to implement a pilot program that would allow Low Speed Electric Vehicles to be used as taxis on the City’s downtown streets. The program is slated to continue through September 30, 2012.
The [I]Austin Chronicle [/I]reported on October 14, 2011 that after a long debate, the vehicles may now be allowed to operate on fixed routes with fixed stops, traveling north-south and east-west in the downtown area. They will be expected to charge a fixed rate for each trip, and all vehicles must have specific safety equipment to be allowed to operate under the program. All participating companies must also get a permit from the City’s Transportation Department.
Area taxi companies fought hard to keep the measure from passing, apparently concerned that the new vehicles would compete for their business, but the LSV operators contend that most taxi drivers would rather not take the shorter trip fares that will be the LSVs’ bread and butter anyway. They also pointed out the added advantages of the electric vehicles – less congestion, less emissions and less noise.
The LSV taxis are also expected to fill the transportation gap left by Capitol Metro’s termination of its ‘Dillos – free buses that crisscrossed the core of the downtown area.
Fares, routes and vehicle requirements must still be worked out before the City Council gives its final approval to the plan.
For more information and to read the entire article, visit City Hall Hustle: Low-Speed Ahead! - News - The Austin Chronicle.