My husband and I got a free cab ride while we were in Dublin on vacation. Yes, free. And even better, it was eco-friendly. After exploring the city on foot for two days straight, we decided we wanted to be chauffeured to our final tourist destination. So we hopped in an Ecocab.
What’s an Ecocab? It’s part bicycle, part taxi-cab that runs mainly on pedal power. It also has a small electric motor that assists the driver/cyclist when going up hills. With a top speed of 7 1/2 mph, it takes passengers short distances in eco-friendly style.
These Ecocabs have been popping up in major cities over the past two years. Dublin has a fleet of Ecocabs that run throughout the city centre from 10 AM to 7 PM. According to their website, Ecocabs is committed to providing these emission free cabs because “the problems of global warming and traffic pollution continue to threaten our future.”
We asked our driver, a fit 25 year old from France, why the ride was free. He told us it was because the cabs and the drivers’ salaries are paid for by corporate sponsors. Our cab was sponsored by 7-Up Free. The entire cab was a rolling advertisement for soda.
So what was our experience in the Ecocab like? It was fun, but it was also a little scary. The Ecocab had to drive in the taxi and bus lane, and our driver weaved in an out of heavy traffic. We found ourselves passing closely to cars and buses. But after a while we just sat back and relaxed and chatted with our driver who was able to keep talking even while peddling up some steep hills. When the ride was over, we did tip the driver, but a sign inside the cab said even that was unnecessary.
Ecocabs have been seen on the streets of such international cities as Toronto, Stockholm, and Berlin. Unlike Dublin, not all cities offer free rides in the cabs.