I’m from New York, where the taxi cab is a creature both revered and feared. New Yorkers (at least those of us from Manhattan) generally can drive, but rarely put the skill to practice. This leaves the subway and, of course, taxis. The cabs tend to be battered shells of what they once were (like LA, I believe many are out-of-commission police cruisers sold at auction) that leak thick black smoke from their exhaust pipe (and nowhere else if you’re lucky). Cabs are, as I say, a necessary evil in New York.
I am not actually sure what purpose cabs serve in Los Angeles. I believe people that live here without owning a car to be mythical, even though I personally know several.
Stopped at a red light today in Studio City, I noticed a cab waiting to turn out of a parking lot. But there was something…funny about it. It looked like a yellow and black alien bug. Because it was a Prius! I was so surprised that I made my husband confirm it. I would have taken a picture but I never, ever remember to bring my camera with me except when I don’t need it.
I can think of a lot of reasons for a cabbie to drive a hybrid vehicle. Better gas mileage means more profit, for one. For another, approved hybrids (including the Prius) can get a sticker that allows them in carpool lanes with no passengers. I imagine that would speed up trips to LAX considerably.
The cab was City Cab #688. For anyone who might prefer an eco-friendly cab ride in the valley, their number is (according to this website) 818.252.1600.