What to Look for
How do taxi services fare when it comes to sustainability? Whilst the UK’s current car usage doesn’t have a place in a green future, taxi companies might not be the enemy. One big reason for this that, similarly to car sharing, they reduce the need for people to buy their own cars. This not only reduces the emissions from buying and running a car, but also reduces traffic in cities which helps with air quality. Moreover, less cars means more parking spaces so less fuel is wasted driving around searching for a space. Research by David King found that people are mainly using cabs for one leg of their daily trips, suggesting people are using cabs to facilitate a journey on public transport. This is definitely more beneficial than using a privately-owned car for the entire trip.
To add to all this, it is cheaper to operate a taxi that runs efficiently, which is why you will often see taxi drivers (especially Uber) driving a Prius, because they are cheap to run. Despite all these positives, there are still some taxi companies that are more sustainable than others. What is available will vary depending on where you’re living but, particularly in London, there are companies offering electric rides and offsetting their emissions.
Green Tomato Cars
The Brand: Since 2020, Green Tomato Cars has been operating the largest zero-emissions passenger fleet in Europe. The company offer low and zero emission vehicles and any emissions released are double offset. They were the first car service in London to operate the Toyota Prius as their flagship vehicle and are now the first to use the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Toyota Mirai.
The Product: The taxi service operates in London and is available through an app. When ordering a ride you can opt for a standard car, a zero emission car, a standard MPV, an executive car or a courier. The greener service does come at a higher cost than Uber and opting for a zero-emission car will also cost more than their standard car.
The Brand: Bolt claim that all their rides in Europe are now carbon-neutral. In order to do this, they have relied heavily on offsets however, they do state this as the first step of their wider Green Plan. On top of this they want to bring more electric vehicles and scooters to their platform, and reduce the ecological footprint of their offices by using renewable forms of energy. This is all encouraging however we would hope that in the near future they will add some firmer goals with set dates.
The Product: Bolt operate in Leicester, London, Milton Keynes and Peterborough. Again, the service is accessed through an app and its prices are often slightly cheaper than Uber.
The Brand: Uber are promising to be a zero-emission platform by 2040. In London in particular they claim to be on a journey to zero car emissions by 2025. They are helping drivers with the transition to electric through Uber’s Clean Air Plan. Uber have also introduced Uber Green for any London rider starting their trip inside Zone 1. The trip will cost the same as an UberX and only drivers with fully electric vehicles, no hybrids, can benefit.
The Product: Uber is probably the biggest app-based taxi service in the UK and many will be aware of their services. As well as offering taxis on their app you can also rent bikes and order food.