City approves the 'Taxi of Tomorrow,' set to hit streets starting fall '13
Here comes the "Taxi of Tomorrow."
The Taxi and Limousine Commission on Thursday approved a plan to replace nearly all of the current yellow cabs with roomier rides that were custom built for the city's streets.
The Nissan NV200, which will be rolled out in fall 2013, has gadget charging ports, sunroofs, easy-to-open doors and more legroom.
The city's current fleet of 13,000 cars is expected to turn over in five years through the normal car-retirement system, said TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg.
"Most cars today are not built to be taxis," Fromberg said. "But this car was built with the city's roads and both the passenger and rider in mind. ... This is a superior taxi in so many ways."
He added that the fleet's gas mileage will increase to about 28 mpg from 24 mpg.
Advocates for the disabled said the TLC should have tried for full wheelchair accessibility to accommodate the city's 60,000 or more wheelchair users.
The city's disabled "are just outraged. They're so disgusted that New York is really missing this opportunity to make the city better and that [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg and [TLC Commissioner David] Yassky are so regressive in their policy making," said Julia Pinover, staff attorney for Disability Rights Advocates.
About 230 taxis will be wheelchair accessible, Fromberg said, adding that city's accessibiliy services will help the disabled use cabs. (Another 2,000 medallions for accessible cabs are tied up in litigation.)
Still, many New Yorkers hailed the new taxis.
"I really like that they're more energy efficient," said Syed Rizvi, 20, of Jamaica. "It will be really helpful to have phone chargers."
Added Franny Quirsfeld, 22, who lives in the East Village: "I'm not sad to see the Crown Vics go."
"The ones I've been in were old ... a more spacious, energy efficient van would be better," she said.