Hundreds of Taxis of Tomorrow to hit city streets soon due to new rule

The Nissan NV200 includes USB chargers, greater legroom and a sunroof.

Hundreds of rider-friendly cabs will be hitting the city’s streets over the coming months, due to a rule going into effect Tuesday requiring most new cars to be the “Taxi of Tomorrow.”

The Nissan NV200 — which includes USB chargers, greater legroom and a sunroof — was proposed under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration to standardize the look of the city’s fleet, as well as to add amenities for passengers and drivers.

It was designed specifically for New Yorkers — but the city was hit with lawsuits that challenged its authority to designate an official cab model. Other opposition came from the proposed model not being a hybrid car, and that the wheelchair-accessible version brings the rider in from the back.

In June, the state’s highest court ruled in favor of the city, saying it had not overstepped its authority in picking a cab model for its fleet.

“We think there’s a lot of great design features in the Taxi of Tomorrow, particularly the safety features,” said Michael Loughlin, a campaign director for the group Cab Riders United,Monday. “We’re glad tomorrow starts tomorrow.”

The car also has yellow seatbelts that are easier to see on black seats, six air bags, a sliding door that keeps cyclists from getting hit, and greater space between the passenger’s face and the partition.

Under the new rule, the Taxi and Limousine Commission expects about 80% of the city’s yellow cabs to become the new model within several years.

Each month, the TLC says about 150 to 200 new cabs hit the streets as older ones go off the road. Some months can go as high as 250 to 300 cars. There are 13,587 taxis total on the road, according to a spokesman.

Medallion owners who want to put a new cab on the road have the option of the Taxi of Tomorrow, which includes a model that is wheelchair-accessible.

The standard Taxi of Tomorrow’s suggested retail price is $29,700 , but owners are expected to negotiate from indiviudal dealers. The accessible version is $14,000 more.

Almost 500 waivers will be given to medallion owners for accessible cars that are not the new Nissans. They can also get a hybrid cab instead.

There are more than 750 Taxis of Tomorrow on the road now, even though the model hasn’t been a requirement yet for medallion owners.

“While this makes today’s milestone a bit anticlimactic, we’re very pleased and excited that passengers and drivers will be seeing and enjoying many more of them in the coming months and years,” said TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi.

Ranjit Singh, 48, of Floral Park, was the first cabbie to get one in 2013 and has driven 150,000 miles on his since then. He is 6-foot-3 and likes the leg room.

“It’s more comfortable,” he said. “It’s better than Uber, it’s more spacious.”

Before he bought the cab, he had passengers who ‘doored’ cyclists when they came out onto the street.

“The doors are sliding, so you don’t hit bikers,” he added.

The industry group Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade said passengers and drivers both like the model.

“It is roomier and more comfortable in the backseat than many other vehicles, and just looks fresh and modern inside and out,” said spokesman Michael Woloz.

“It is a good development in making sure yellow cabs continue to be a transportation of choice for New Yorkers and visitors alike.”


Rebecca Harshbarger