Are You Desperate for a Hybrid? 

Even though America doesn’t pay nearly as much for gas as most of the other industrialized Western nations, the current run on prices at the pump means the cabbies are hurting. Maybe if they cause enough of a ruckus, the fleet change to hybrids will happen faster…
   
DONALD
Where I hailed him: East Village
Where he hails from: South Carolina
Years as a cabbie: 7
Previous profession: Musician
The thing is, the fleet owner charges you more for the hybrid — about $20 extra a day — so even though you’re saving on gas it gets pretty much cancelled out. I’ve been driving for a long time, and let me tell you man, they are going to get theirs. Everything is in their favor.
   
MOHAMMED
Where I hailed him: LES
Where he hails from: Pakistan
Years as a cabbie: “A long time…”
Previous profession: Always a driver
For me it doesn’t matter. My friend owns this car, and we just switch off shifts. I think that for other drivers, though, there’s competition to get the hybrids. You can save $25, $30 a day on gas. And the prices are only going up. I’ve heard that some drivers are showing up early at the garage to make sure they can get a hybrid.

RASHEED
Where I hailed him: Midtown
Where he hails from: Afghanistan
Years as a cabbie: 7
Previous profession: Cook
I think there are about 400 cabs that are hybids, and there are more than 10,000 cabs. So it’s hard to get one. I think they want to replace all of the normal cabs with hybrid ones soon, so I’ll just wait and get one then.
   
CHRIS
Where I hailed him: LES
Where he hails from: Czech Republic
Years as a cabbie: 6
Previous profession: Handyman
Oh yeah, everyone is trying to get one of those things. Gas is about $4 a gallon, no one can afford that. Listen, do you know how often I have to gas up this thing? Know how much that all costs? Anything I could do to get lower prices would be a blessing. I can’t run the cab without gas, it’s not like I can water it down to make it last longer. I’m stuck.
   
JAY
Where I hailed him: Midtown
Where he hails from: India
Years as a cabbie: 9
Previous profession: Restaurant worker
Yeah, people definitely try to get those now. The garage owners charge more — like an extra $100 a week for the hybrid, but you can save $30 or $40 a day in one, so it’s definitely worth it.

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