Ecofest Report: Bicy-taxi

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Bicy-taxis should be a familiar sight to Manhattanites by now. It's a short-range alternative to the traditional taxi cab powered primarily by a human through bicycle-like pedals assisted by an electric motor during start-up and heavy loads. The vehicle is primarily made up of recyclable materials and weighs approximately 240 pounds.

In 2005, Steven Blinder started the company by importing 3 of these unique looking vehicles from Europe and putting them to work in the Times Square area of New York City. Due to favorable reaction, there are now 52 Bicy-taxis operating in Manhattan and the company plans to expand the fleet to 100 in 2007.

Bicy-taxi is also proving valuable for large events, as American Express commissioned the service to shuttle passengers during the current U.S. Open.

Mr. Blinder, one of the speakers at Ecofest's Getting Rid of Foreign Oil seminar, says he believes the service could help to reduce congestion and emissions problems in urban areas and is eager to bring the Bicy-taxis to other U.S. cities including Boston and Chicago.

Hiring a Bicy-taxi costs the passengers $1 per block with a minimum of $10 per person.

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