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Human Powered Taxis

Bicycling is a well established form of solitary transportation (excluding tandem bikes), but what if human powered vehicles became a mainstream form of public transportation?

Whether that day will come to fruition within our lifetime or not, the vision has already been set in motion as, in 1997, the first Velotaxi was authorized to operate in Berlin.

Velotaxis are human powered taxi cabs of aerodynamic design that allow passengers to travel anywhere within a city without the use of fuel.

To companies, Velotaxis also function as mobile advertisements, as cabs are decked out to match the current product or campaign of the company that sponsors them. Velotaxi has two standard cab models, titled ‘Citycruiser I’ and ‘Citycruiser II’. Both are pod-like cabs, consisting of a chassis with pedals enclosed by a cabin. The standard cabin color is white, although other color options are available to match that of a company or product. The Citycruisers are essentially muscle powered, though drivers receive assistance during difficult passages from an electric auxiliary motor.

Cabs also have headlights, taillights, and turn signals, all powered by two rechargeable 12 volt batteries. Currently, both Citycruiser models are made from 100 percent recyclable polyethylene.Their cabins are open at the sides, allowing passengers to experience the city in the fresh air, while the roof keeps them safe from rainfall.

Riding in a Citycruiser, tourists and locals alike will be able to get an up close view of the city, non obstructed by panes of glass and congested arteries of traffic. Instead, they can soak up all the sites and hidden paths at a steady pace. Often, passengers will learn about an area’s history as well. In this way, riding in a Velotaxi cab is a lot like taking a tour, with the drivers as their guide. In fact, official tours can be arranged using Velotaxi cabs. In Berlin, they provide tours of historic districts, new Berlin, and the Tiergarten.

Along with providing an efficient alternative to traditional taxis, Velotaxi has created opportunities for green employment that enables drivers to stay fit while reducing gas emissions. Because each cab is sponsored by a company, drivers need only to pay a rental fee to the Velotaxi company for the use and maintenance of their cabs. The rest of the earnings are kept by the drivers.

From an advertising standpoint, companies would be wise to choose a Citycruiser over a billboard.By sponsoring a Citycruiser cab, you not only support environmentally smart transport, you also have the benefit of a built in spokesperson, as Velotaxi drivers are well versed in the going-ons of the company whose image they bare. This allows them to keep passengers updated on the latest products and services the company has to offer.  In addition, your advertisements will have a positive message associated with them just by the fact that they support and appear on these environmentally friendly cabs. Besides, what billboard gets good exposure in the middle of a park?

Other cities are catching on to the positive impacts of Velotaxis and they now operate in over 45 countries, in cities as varied as Helsinki, New York City, Tokyo, and Cape Town – in addition to their birthplace of Berlin.

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