Taking a taxi can be greener than riding public transportation.
Disagree? Hear me out.
In Juneau, Alaska, Kimberly, my parents, and I disembarked our cruise ship, the ms Ryndam, with the intent of taking the public bus to the Mendenhall Glacier (a glacier in Tongass National Park Forest). All the guidebooks indicate that you can take the public bus to the glacier for $1.50 each way. We asked the local tourist information center where to catch the bus and the woman informed us that the bus would drop us a mile and a half from the glacier. Considering the limited amount of time we had, walking 3 miles just to get from the bus stop to the glacier wasn’t an option. The information booth employee gave another option: we could take a charter bus for $7.00 per person each way. Or we could take a taxi cab for about $32 total.
As there were 4 of us, the taxi cab was only about $1 more per person; so we took the cab (that clearly operates solely for tourists: Mendenhall Glacier Cab Company).
Here’s why taking a cab was greener than the bus:
- Support Local Business. We supported a small local taxi company and the cab driver (whom are often considered sole proprietors).
- Get a Local’s Perspective. The cab driver gave us his perspective not just on Juneau, but also politics and the economy.
- Learn Insider Tips and Tricks. Our cab driver provided a wealth of information about local wildlife including where to spot black bears (in trees). When we got to the glacier, he even got out of the cab and walked around with us for 10 minutes and pointed out spots where you can see salmon (during spawning season) and black bears (usually eating the salmon). Plus, he had some great stories. Our cab driver on the way back was a little crazy, so she was entertaining for an entirely different reason.
- Enjoy the Local Environment Longer Than Everyone Else. Because we took a cab, we also beat out the buses full of tourists by nearly 30 minutes. This gave us more time to explore the park and glacier – and gets some photos without someone else’s head as the backdrop.
For me, the local experience of the cab was worth not only the extra dollar, but the extra carbon output. It’s definitely not always the case, and our regular readers know we’re huge fans of public transportation. But sometimes riding in a cab makes your trip a little greener.