Amsterdam Electric Taxis

I was really impressed the first time that I caught a taxi in Amsterdam. Firstly, because it was a Mercedes Benz, and I just wasn’t used to mercs being used as taxis where I come from.

Secondly, because the taxi had a prominent sign, in English, which advised me that tipping in taxis was not allowed. I don’t mind tipping for extra service, but unless a cab driver loads and unloads your luggage, or does any other favour for you, the cab fare is all you should pay for a trip; just because some bloke is driving the cab doesn’t mean that he is entitled to extra payment.

I don’t quite know how they would police the tipping ban, but because of concerns about air pollution in Amsterdam, a city in which an inordinate number of people ride bikes on a regular basis, electric taxis have been introduced into service to help reduce the amount of emissions in the air.

All things considered, cabs do produce more than their fair share of emissions. In fact, Taxis produce nearly 35 times more pollution than the average private car and introducing electric taxis is a relatively inexpensive way of effectively reducing pollution. The City of Amsterdam financed part of the cost of purchasing the taxis through a subsidy that is available for electric transport. The electric taxis can be recharged at special taxi charging points located throughout the city or at regular charging points.

Around 2,500 taxis are active in Amsterdam during the working week and this number rises at the weekend. The average taxi contributes nearly 35 times more to the nitrogen dioxide concentration in the city than the average private car. This is because they travel primarily within the city boundary and run on diesel. Diesel cars produce twice as much nitrogen dioxide as petrol cars.
Poor air quality has been linked to particulate pollution health problems and premature death, but this is not the only reason why improving air quality in Amsterdam is so important. Amsterdam is required to meet the European standards for air quality by 2015. If the city fails to do so, a building freeze may come into effect. It is currently uncertain whether Amsterdam will meet the standard for nitrogen dioxide by 2015.

The new electric taxis are large enough to carry several people, and are also suitable for disabled passengers. The City of Amsterdam is striving to have 450 electric taxis active in the city in 2015.

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