WEST LOOP — Chicago’s Green Taxi Program has expanded into the Loop, but those driving regular cabs aren't too happy about it.
The city set has aside five taxi stands near Union Station and the Ogilvie Transportation Center for cabs that run solely on compressed natural gas (CNG), a fuel that is more environmentally friendly than regular gasoline.
Jennifer Lipford, a spokeswoman for the city Departments of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, said that the CNG stands were located at the stations because of the program’s objectives, including reducing the city's carbon footprint.
The pilot program will last for six months as the city seeks to measure its effect.
But some cabbies of gasoline-fueled vehicles are not happy with the stands that are now off-limits for them.
“I do not like this arrangement at all. The setup is not equal," said taxi driver Gowan Mohammed, 26, who frequently picks up fares in the Loop and at O'Hare.
But CNG drivers like Kai Powell, 25, are pleased with the new setup.
"The CNG is good for the environment and good for the city's business," the Jamaican transplant argued.
The Green Taxi Program, which began in 2011, was funded by a federal grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The city used the money to partially reimburse taxi companies that bought the more expensive alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles that will now go to the front of the line at taxi stands near Ogilvie, Union Station and O’Hare.