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Eco Cabs – Emissions and Fare Free Transportation

| Wednesday August 20th, 2008 | 23 Comments

Imagine you’re drunk. Toasted. No way you’re driving home. Too far to walk. No cash in your pocket, and the ATM card’s back at home. Then you see it. This little green bug of a vehicle, pulling up to you, and someone says, “Need a lift? We don’t charge.”
“Who are these people and what do they want?” you think. Or did you say that out loud? They proceed to tell you that they’re from Eco Cabs, a company that is providing these emissions free cabs, for free, courtesy the sponsor enveloping their vehicle, 7UP in this case.
On the ride home, you learn that your driver who is pedaling you home is not, in fact, bionic, but has the assistance of an electric motor to make carrying your sack of a body home easier. Wait, did they just call you a sack?

Yes, you’re in Ireland, after all, cheerfully delivered sarcasm is part of the bargain.
EcoCabs is a Dublin based green taxi company who has created a win-win situation for all: A mobile billboard for the vehicle sponsor, on a vehicle that will likely attract much more attention, positive at that, then one of those trucks driving around city streets with billboards in tow. Riders get a safe, free ride home, or if they like, a tour around central Dublin. For everybody, they get reduced emissions in this often congested city, and reduced noise that would otherwise come from a typical taxi cab.
For sponsors, they do more than just coat their vehicle in your branding. For example, Eco Cabs drivers can tell passengers about the product or event that’s related to the sponsor, give coupons and samples to passengers (who doesn’t like to save money and get freebies?) and serve different areas of town in proximity to the sponsor’s business.
New York may have hybrids, but how long will it take something like this to take off in Manhattan? From the sounds of this article it appears Eco Cabs is expanding, both in country and internationally. Time to get on board?
Readers: What other innovative ways have you seen to reduce city congestion and/or market companies uniquely?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. His overarching talent is “bottom lining” complex ideas, in a way that is understandable and accessible to a variety of audiences, internal and external to a company.


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  • http://cleantechnica.com Michelle

    What a great idea! I could have used this service last night in Sydney, AU. After the public transit stops running, a little cab like this would be perfect for the night life.

  • 123

    This is such an innovative idea, I love love love this.

  • Nex

    Love it! But…. why would your ATM card be at home?

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    @Michelle, I’m betting it wouldn’t take too much cash to get and start up something like this there. Hmmmm….

  • Ashely

    aww this is so awsome! way to go!
    we are trying to save this environment, and this seems like an amazing start!
    what a wonderful thing you are doing providing free transportation, it will help keep drunk drivers off the streets as well. hopefully this will bring down the number of accidents and DUI’s.
    Thank you!

  • Aido

    yeah, it’s a great idea, bar the fact that the people driving them rarely ever take locals, and just wait for some tourists to come along cause they know they’ll tip, it’d work better if there were more, and they didnt just do the work for a tip

  • PY

    it’s a great idea – check out ecoshuttle.net for a green eco friendly vehicle mode of transportation in the Portland, OR area

  • http://dir.blogflux.com/tracker.php?id=175696&678931442=678931442&678931442=678931442&678931442=678931442&678931442=678931442&678931442=678931442&678931442=678931442&678931 web

    Good idea.

  • http://www.quirkeye.com/ Ronan

    As a native Dubliner I’m afraid I have to debunk the warm fuzzy feelings.
    These things are a gimmick used only by two groups of people:
    1) The very drunk
    2) The tourists
    They don’t take you very far so unless you well, live within walking distance of the city center (seeing the irony here?), they won’t take you home.
    Nor are they much faster than walking!
    Hence they are only used by the groups I have mentioned above.
    And as another commenter pointed out, unlike normal taxi drivers, these guys expect a tip, so not entirely free either.

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    @Ronan, sounds pretty much within what the article said, I’d say. And if you’re stumble drunk, walking speed in a place you can sit sounds allright by me! No fare and a tip sounds, well, fair. Thanks for the perspective.

  • charles s

    The government wont like it

  • http://www.ecotaxi.com.au Russell

    you should visit http://www.ecotaxi.com.au and check out their media page for a similar initiative!

  • Anonymous

    electricity isn’t emissions free. energy comes from places other than the plug. most power plants are coal, oil, natural gas, etc…not nuclear, wind, or hydroelectric. given its probably…probably not as bad as a chevy caprice, its still not emissions free.

  • paul

    electricity isn’t emissions free. energy comes from places other than the plug. most power plants are coal, oil, natural gas, etc…not nuclear, wind, or hydroelectric. given its probably…probably not as bad as a chevy caprice, its still not emissions free.

  • Rukky

    paul – whatchoo talking about? These things are pedaled, not electric.

  • Anonymous

    it states clearly in the article that the operators are assisted by an electric motor. Paul is correct in saying that these taxis do in fact have a carbon footprint. Of course, the small electric motor that would be required to assist in the operation of a small, light, 3-wheeled cart with room for maybe 3 passengers including the operator are minimal when compared to something as fuel efficient as a small motorcycle or a gas-electric hybrid automobile.

  • Anonymous

    In Sevilla they have bicycles for rent all over the city. Very convenient, pretty cheap (5 euro up front and then 1 euro per hour for a 7 day pass) and there are tons of places to get a bike.

  • Anonymous

    This article sounded promising, but I stopped reading when you switched “then” with “than”.

  • mike

    They should bring something like this to the states. It would lower the accident rate and help with the environmental problems.

  • Anonymous

    They should bring something like this to the states. It would lower the accident rate and help with the environmental problems.

  • http://organicfoodstips.blogspot.com Organic

    My oh my! This is quite innovative. I love the concept. It sure rocks. Cleaner environment, less pollution and reduce direct advertisement all in one! Kudos

  • Trevor

    To the guys above- i work for these guys you are completely wrong on the following:
    1.Drunk people dont use them- theyre not allowed in plus we work days only!! No nighttimes ever. Youre probably think of a different service
    2.Tourists dont use them- 75% of passenger numbers are Irish citizens, they know its free they know the deal.. simple
    3.We do NOT expect a tip. Some people tip some people dont. The sponsors go a long way to pay for peoples free eco journey and we all respect that. If anyone wants to give me a euro or two theyre welcome but we are paid.
    4.The servicehas been praised by the government and city council and will take its 250,000th passenger next month. Does that sound like a “gimmick” to you sir? It’s my job!!
    And to the other guy, the operators tell us their electricity is from airtricity so charging the batteries is done by wind power so yes it’s virtually no or very very little carbon footprint.
    Ecocabs rocks im working them 2 years full time and love it.. Hop on!

  • Uncle B

    If mankind fails at resolving his environmental problems, the solutions to his future problems will not be so simple and cute! We face a world of doom, we skirt it, teasing every last margin of safety from it, and work towards more for ourselves at all costs. Don’t be fooled, the human animal has not changed in centuries, and will continue outdistancing tragic failure by skillfully filling his own cheeks and dodging the consequences as long as the gambling spirit is alive in him! Expect chaos in the future and great suffering of the slow to slide away from misery, and human degradation on large scale except for a few princely and royals, it has been so since the first hunting tribes and will continue to the pinnacle of mans reign on earth – such is the nature of the beast – To form clans and hierarchies within them! learn this young, and learn to climb, and then to respect the “Pecking Order” when you have safely arrived at your perch, and you can be reasonably happy most your life! Pis into the wind and you fill your heart with discontentment, your soul with depression. Eco cabs are an illusionary glimmer of hope in an otherwise mundane and predictable status Quo!