A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Londonist used to be svelte enough (and poor enough) to travel everywhere by bicycle. We could pretend that this was something to do with also keeping healthy but since our route used to take in the whole of Oxford Street, behind ageing Routemasters and black cabs belching their diesel fumes, the contents of our hankies used to tell us our lungs were not really thankful for the workout. The view from Londonist Towers of the fume blanket covering our fair city, particularly in the Summer, tells us that increased public transport use and congestion charge or not, we're still breathing crap.
Step forward the cab service of the future: Green Tomato Cars. Green, yes, tomatoes, they're not, but they are cars. In fact, they're Toyota Prius cars, the most environmentally-friendly car around at the moment, and they'll soon be serving the travel needs of the residents of West London.
Now, these aren't part of the normal Hackney Carriage service (they're officially a minicab firm) so you do need to book. The good news is that you can book online if you have a pathological dislike of speaking to people on the phone, and the company promises that the environmentally-friendly nature of the service - the Prius chucks out half the carbon dioxide of a black cab - doesn't mean you'll be paying a green premium. The Prius is particularly suited to the slow London traffic, in fact, as that's when the electric motor kicks in.
The service starts 1st March and is limited to West London right now, but we're told there's plans to expand (depending on the success of the initial service, presumably). Let us know how you get on if you get in one.