Arlington puts off decision on all-electric taxi fleet

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Local,Virginia,Transportation,Taylor Holland

Arlington County officials have put off until next week a decision on whether the county should become the nation's first home to an all-electric taxi fleet.

The board must decide whether to allow an additional 65 taxis to operate in the county, including a 40-car fleet from Electric Vehicle Taxicab Company. Board members decided to delay the vote after hearing testimony from current cab drivers around 2 a.m. Wednesday, toward the end of a marathon meeting.

About 35 people, including many current cabbies, spoke out against the electric-cab company while requesting permission to expand their own cab fleets.

Rick Vogel, the general manager of Envirocab, said it became evident that there wouldn't be a vote on the matter shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday, when the board finally opened the floor for public comment.

The cabbies are not the only ones concerned about the all-electric fleet. The Arlington Transportation Committee warned the County Board that electric-car technologies have not advanced enough to guarantee electric cabs won't leave passengers stranded because of dead batteries.

Malik Khattak, the founder of EV Taxicabs, said he was confident the cars were the next generation of taxis in Arlington, and even offered to install electric-car chargers throughout the county.

"If we can just get the support for this, we can do it," Khattak said after the committee's recommendation against his company.

The County Board is expected to vote on the addition of the taxis at its Dec. 8 meeting.

tholland@washingtonexaminer.com

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