By on October 9, 2013

2014-nissan-nv200-taxi-new-york-citys-taxi-of-tomorrow_100387065_m

A New York State Supreme Court judge on Tuesday voided Nissan’s contract with New York Citys’ Taxi and Limousine Commission that would have forced taxicab operators to buy and use taxis based on the Nissan NV200 van. According to Automotive NewsJudge Shlomo Hagler said that the commission “exceeded its authority” by awarding Nissan the exclusive ten year contract to supply New York City’s taxis. The ruling was the outcome of a lawsuit filed against the commission by the Greater New York Taxi Association.

Nissan beat out Ford and a Turkish company in a 2011 competition to win the contract, part of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” concept, which involved a standardized fleet of identical purpose-built taxis. Nissan had hoped that the contract would be the foundation of a global marketing plan for the NV200 taxis.

Judge Hagler said that the taxi commission lacked “the authority to contract with a third party vendor to manufacture a vehicle that would be the exclusive taxi for the City of New York for the next ten years and medallion owners will be mandated to purchase.”

Nissan issued a statement saying that the ruling will not delay their plans to sell taxis in New York City.  “We are disappointed in the court’s decision, but it will not prevent our plan to start upgrading the NYC taxi fleet with the Nissan Taxi of Tomorrow at the end of the month,” the company said.

“We are evaluating options for next steps regarding the exclusivity contract,” Nissan added in its statement. Nissan designed the taxi version of the NV200 with features meant to appeal to cab operators, passengers and politicians alike, including a see through roof so tourists can enjoy the skyscrapers, and ample anti-microbial seating that features rear seat phone chargers. Hybrid and electric versions are planned.

Despite the loss of the exclusive supply contract, Nissan insists that cab operators will embrace their hack. “Given the specific NYC taxi research and development that we have conducted,” Nissan said, “we are confident that the Nissan taxi provides optimal safety, comfort and convenience for passengers and drivers alike.”

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86 Comments on “Judge Throws Out Nissan’s Exclusive Contract To Supply New York City’s Taxi Cabs...”


  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    I am so tired of all these deals between governments and corporations.

    This crap reminds me of seeing a box of British crackers with the royal Windsor crest on it’s side proclaiming that it is the official cracker of her Royal Majesty.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    I’ve yet to see any convincing explanation for why NYC needs to have a specific vehicle mandated for all taxis.

    Why not just lay out some standards for safety and emissions (preferably harmonized with standards that already exist) and let the operators choose what they want.

    There may be some other requirements such as footprint or length that would make sense from a standardization point of view, but those could still apply without requiring one specific vehicle model be used for every cab.

    The cabs are privately owned, right?

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      “I’ve yet to see any convincing explanation for why NYC needs to have a specific vehicle mandated for all taxis.”

      between this and other recent unpleasantries, it seems clear that Bloomberg and Cuomo are set on turning NYC into an autocracy. I’m glad I don’t live there (though I already was prior to this) and the small chance I’d ever willingly visit has completely evaporated.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        You beat me to the punch. It’s more of King Bloomberg’s nanny state, “I’ll force my will on you because you’re too stupid to know better mentality.”

        Apparently it’s contagious too as Czar O’Malley of Maryland has shown similar delusions lately as he attempts to build a monument and edifice to himself.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Dumb reason not to visit NY. Bloomberg got overly imperious and he’s on his way out.

        This contract stinked to high holy heaven and thankfully NYC isn’t really going to fight it at this late date.

        The next likely mayor, Bill di Blasio, sides with the taxi owners on this stupid set of affairs. They should be free to choose their own model of cab. The Transit Connect does make a nice cab, or there will be others now.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          It should have been the Turkish Ford anyway. So happy this monster won’t be the official cab of the city.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            it should have been whatever made sense for the operators. If an operator is better off buying retired police cruisers, so be it. If a Transit Connect or a Prius makes better financial sense, then the operator(s) should be free to buy those.

            Bloomberg is an authoritarian schmuck.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            ” If an operator is better off buying retired police cruisers, so be it. If a Transit Connect or a Prius makes better financial sense, then the operator(s) should be free to buy those.”

            I think (at least part of) the point was to provide decent, comfortable transportation for tourists and other passengers.

            The current ex-cruiser taxis are a major failure in that regard.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Actually, this choice violated another mandate pushed by Bloomberg, that the taxi fleet be hybrids. The president of the GNYTA pointed that out to Bloomberg in person, and got to see Bloomie in full rage mode. It’s a good thing he’s leaving, and unable to exact his brand of terrible revenge.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          “Dumb reason not to visit NY. ”

          I’ve had plenty of reasons, this one is just the icing on the cake.

          • 0 avatar
            hifi

            Interesting. Even people who have never been here seem to have strong opinions about why they wouldn’t like it. My uncle just said he hates NYC when I visited him in Arizona, though he’s never been here and couldn’t articulate why he felt that way. I believe that it’s more about how intimidating NY is, than anything. Truthfully, he wouldn’t fit in here, and we all know it. So he decided to hate NY before NY had the chance to hate him. I felt the same way before I visited, and now I’ve lived here twenty years. NYC is awesome. But that’s fine, don’t visit. It’s not like you’ll be missed. Plus, we need the space!

            As for the taxis. Bloomberg is a good mayor, but the Nissan was not a good choice. The Nissan is terrible looking and the selection of the NVwhatever never seemed to be justified, so people were skeptical about the integrity of the choice and that there wasn’t some sort of corruption happening. Taxi companies should have more than one option to keep things competitive long-term. The Transit is already being used in limited numbers today as taxis in NYC. Ford has the most experience at this, by far. Most of the livery and taxi vehicles on the road here are Escapes, Towncars, CVs, Transit vans or Camrys. The Transit is a better looking option than the Nissan, and a very durable vehicle. That’s my choice, if it were up to me.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            NYC is the reason I quite like Boston.

            A great place to spend 48+ hours awake- I wouldn’t last long living there, but it’s quite a place.

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            Thanks hifi, you got to it before I could. I’ve been trying for years to get to NYC at the least during the Holidays and just can’t seem to find the time/money. Having been all over the world, everyone I’ve spoken to and broke bread/beer with always finds it shocking that I’ve never been to NYC. Hope to retify that soon when I retire from the Military and get a chance to roam around for a bit.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            Protip, Dolorean: don’t stay in Midtown/Times Square area, in part because you’ll pay through the nose, in part because it’s vile and the only New Yorkers close to there will be finance people at work. Try the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge, which is walkable from most of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn, where most New Yorkers want to live these days anyway (the restaurants are a lot better), and which costs half as much.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            The bagel cutting tax for example?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. What you proposed seems like it would be far more reasonable than specifically mandating one model for all taxicabs.

    • 0 avatar
      phlipski

      I’ll give you a convincing explanation:

      By selecting only one manufacturer the city officials get to be wined and dined and bribed by the manufacturers who want the contract. If they actually allowed cabbies to pick any car they choose then who gets the kick-backs?

      http://jalopnik.com/ny-legislator-and-wife-made-money-off-failed-gov-backed-557947950

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      Yes, the cabs are privately owned.

      When I go back to visit a city I once lived in, I go for the friends, events, recreational activities and etc. in the city. jz78817, you’re the first person I’ve heard of making tourism decisions based on the autocracy of the city government. Is that something new being tracked on Trip Advisor or do you have your own multi-point check list?

      There’s a fine line between autocracy and order and it seems pretty obvious that the NY courts have been doing a good job of keeping the executive and legislative branches of NYC government in check. I’d love to talk more, but I need to go aggressively panhandle so I can get the money together for a quadruple big gulp.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      Well, for the sake of argument, the guarantee of a long-term exclusiive contract gives a manufacturer the ability to create a specific vehicle, instead of adapting a vehicle created with other uses in mind.

      • 0 avatar
        Ridgerunner

        What happens when a recall is issued and the entire fleet cannot operate? This will probably happen at some point with a new model. Just saying a single source allows that to happen.

        • 0 avatar
          bomberpete

          Nick_515: I agree in principle, but as Ridgerunner points out, what if the design has severe problems? What’s the backup plan? That was my main objection to the sole provider TLC contract that NIssan won.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      In a smaller city, yes, it makes sense for the cabs to basically be whatever. The cost and overhead of a program makes no sense/

      In New York, though, scale, crowding and sheer numbers introduce their own problems, and those problems have significant costs. You can’t manage something the same way.

      Think about it this way: if you’re a small business, you buy a single computer for each person, those computers come with whatever and you fix them when they break. If you’re a Fortune 500 company, you lease a fleet of exactly the same thousands of the same laptop every three years, all of which come configured exactly the same way and with a defined set of tools and processes for managing them. That method makes no sense for a small company because the overhead has no benefit, but a free-for-all at an F500 company would be a cost and support nightmare.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Are all the NYC cabs owned and serviced by a single entity?

        If not, then is this example applicable?

        Are cab companies complaining about a “cost and support nightmare” with the hodgepodge fleet that exists right now? Do they support a common mandated cab platform?

        If Rosco owns 50 cabs and Joe owns 50 cabs, I can see where Rosco would want all 50 of his cars to be the same chassis if possible. Does he benefit if Joe also has to use that same platform, even if their operations are completely separate?

        If so, then why is it necessary to mandate that they commonize – wouldn’t they want to do that all on their own?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Well, this just gives Nissan the opportunity to prove that its Taxi of Tomorrow is the best choice on its own merits, not because of mandates. And no, the NV200 isn’t as cool-looking as a London Taxicab, but it seems to have plenty of features that would be appropriate and desirable in this industry.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      I have no issue with the NV2000 design either. I just object to government mandate forcing business people to make only one choice when other alternatives exist.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Speaking of London taxi cabs, New York used to have its own iconic cab, the Checker Marathon. Why someone hasn’t developed a modern version that has the style and capacity of the old Marathon but with modern safety and a modern drivetrain, just like London has done with its taxi cabs? Don’t make it mandatory, but make it so appealing that it will be the taxi of choice.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        That is what the NYC “Taxi of Tomorrow” design competition is supposed to do. The Nissan NV2000 is the winning entry. It’s possible the NV2000 will be that new Checker or London cab. If so, good for them. I’m just glad it’s not being shoved down anyone’s throat the way TLC was trying to push this.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          Of course, the NY Taxi Commission in the 50′s and 60′s mandated that all cabs be purpose-built, rather than converted passenger cars, which, as Checker was the only manufacturer in that game, was essentially the same as shoving it down everyone’s throat.

          • 0 avatar
            bomberpete

            While the Checker was certainly the high standard, it was never mandated like this .

            “Purpose-built” didn’t mean the vehicle’s actual design. It meant the partition, the heavy-duty suspension, heavy-duty seat springs, stuff like that. That’s why throughout the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s, taxis could always be the big Chevys, Ford and Dodges built to fleet orders. They often had sixes instead of V-8s for economical operation.

            While passengers naturally preferred the Checker because they were so roomy, their quality was even more dismal than standard Detroit stuff. They broke down constantly.

            Checker never had money to modernize and update. There was hope in the late Seventies when former GM president Ed Cole left retirement to take over Checker. Then he died in a plane crash.

            The 1981-82 recession finished off Checker for good. By that time, the Big Three sedans were dominant in the market, with Chevrolet dominant, Dodge leading on price and Ford in 3rd.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          But you are missing my point (and the big opportunity). A black cab in London has looked essentially the same for decades. New York had that same tradition with the Marathon, but for a variety of reasons Checker went away. The NV2000 may be the taxi of the future, but it will never be a New York Taxi, no more than a fleet of them in London would make them London taxis.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Finally someone took NYC’s head out of its ass on this one. Nothing like mandating what people have to buy to make a living.

    Next thing you know all of the bike messengers will have to ride pink Specialized bikes, all of the Pizza delivery guys have to drive green Honda CRZ’s and the only way you are getting your Chinese food delivered is by a white Ford Transit.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Whatever gets those aweful Escape and Altima hybrids off the streets is fine with me.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      When I first opened the door of an Escape taxi I started laughing. They expect me to fit in this? Where do my legs go? Other side wasn’t as bad but still. Transit Connects please.

  • avatar
    bg

    And what about wheelchair and handicap access? Here’s what we did in Colorado Springs. http://gazette.com/yellow-cab-adding-wheelchair-accessible-taxis-to-fleet/article/133260
    But even more fundamentally, if diversity among humans is a goal, then diversity among machines is just as worthy, if they meet certain parameters.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Over reach by a non elected government agency.

    I’m shocked!

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    To all those complaining about government overreach and wondering why the Free Market can’t magically solve everything: Interests of owners, operators, riders, pedestrians and other residents are not aligned; mandating a specific type of cab is one way to protect the interests of riders and other residents. Given the (city-) limited supply of taxis and the practicalities of hailing, particularly during peak demand times, passengers don’t have the ability to bypass cr@ppy, broken-down old Crown Vics or overly cramped Ford Escapes; the mandate forces owners to use comfortable, relatively fuel-efficient vehicles that provide a much more pleasant experience for the rider.

    A specific mandated vehicle is one of two reasons (the other being driver training) that London cabs are known as the world’s best. As someone who spends a large amount of time getting borderline carsick in the back of terrible NYC cabs, I’d like to extend a big thanks to Judge Hagler for making sure that nightmare doesn’t repeat itself here.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      Back in the Guiliani days, New York’s TLC ruled that no cab could be in service longer than 6 years. That means all the Crown Vics will be gone by 2017 at the latest. And I say good riddance. Same to the Escape.

      The Ford Transit Connect and minivans are great though and I hope the NV2000 will be as good as promised.

      Still, aside from the inferences of collusion and price-fixing with Nissan, I was concerned that one recall or parts problem could shut down most of the fleet.

      There are other options out there, and I’m glad the judge saw that.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Miami 2017:

        I seen the Vics drive off of Broadway
        I saw the taxicabs laid low
        But life went on beyond the Palisades
        They all bought Nissan vans
        And left there long ago

        We held an auction out in Brooklyn
        To get rid of all those landwhales
        They turned our power down
        And drove us underground
        But we went right on with the sale

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          Excellent!

          • 0 avatar
            bomberpete

            We should have Billy Joel sing it at a taxi owners convention. Considering what a terrible driver he is, it’s best that he stay in the back seat anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Thank you!

            Not really on topic, but he performed this song at the Concert for New York City after 9/11. Someone shouted, “No!” upon hearing the opening piano flourish, and at the end Mr. Joel gave a little speech:
            “I wrote that song 25 years ago. I thought it was going to be a science fiction song; I never thought it would really happen. But unlike the end of that song, we ain’t going anywhere!”
            And just when you think the applause and cheers can’t get any louder, he launches into “New York State of Mind” and the crowd just _loses_ it.

            Really a performer, that Mr. Joel. I wonder what would go down at the taxi driver’s convention.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The problem is that the now overturned law would have also legislated the Minivans off of the streets so if you had more than 3 people traveling together or a lot of luggage you would have had to use two taxis. As far as the “broken-down old” CVs there was already rules in place that forced cars older than 5 years out of the fleet and did set standards for keeping them presentable, not that the last part was necessarily enforced. Mandating a single option would still mean that there would be “broken-down old” vehicles they would just be all the same flavor in the future.

      The reality was that the commission far overstepped their authority and the fact that they reeled them in is a very good thing. In the past a model had to be approved to be used as a taxi which they can now return to.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Now the medallion owners have freedom of choice again.

        This thing always stunk to high heaven. The political hack who ran TLC, David Yassky, is now most definitely out of a job. It wouldn’t surprise me if his motives come under question. The NYC Controller’s office could investigate the details of the deal with Nissan and finds irregularities.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          Who gives a s##t that the medallion owners have “freedom of choice”? They have a license, granted by the city, to pick up riders from street hails; this license is extraordinarily valuable, and is a cash cow for the owners, but the whole system is ultimately there for the benefit of the riders, not the owners. There’s no great moral value, nor anything in The Wealth of Nations, in favor of allowing the medallion owners to keep their monopoly while denying the city the ability to regulate its use for the passengers’ benefit.

          And by the way, that interim list you offer up below, frankly, sucks. Cabs have dividers, and in the Altima/Camry/Jetta/Fusion, that divider occupies the space your knees should be in. Of course, the medallion owners don’t care, because they’re not the ones riding in them: all they want is something that’s cheap to operate.

          You can offer up conspiracy theories to your heart’s content (without any evidence, of course), but the end result is a worse product on the streets for the passengers who pay for it.

          • 0 avatar
            bomberpete

            I sense a lot of anger coming from you, Astigmatism. At the same time, I don’t think we’re that far apart so try to bear with me.

            I’ll acknowledge that the allusions to corruption is pure conjecture on my part. But when an agency sets up a $1 billion contract the way TLC did with Nissan, at best it’s a real test of a public servant’s integrity. Plus I’ve lived in NYC all my life and that sort of scandal happens too often.

            I agree that all of those hybrid sedan choices are horrible because of the partition, as is the Escape.

            Even after its 2003 wheelbase expansion, the back seat of a Crown Vic remains a lousy place to sit in, or get in and out of. Sorry Panther fanboys, but it’s The Truth About Your Cherished One.

            But the Sienna, CMax and Transit Connect are all decent cabs because of their greater leg room and space utilization.

            I’m not against the Nissan NV2000 either. Looks aside — and who really cares what a taxi looks like — it’s a breath of fresh air design-wise. I really do hope that its mandate to be the “Taxi of Tomorrow” works out, that it’s durable, and that it’s accepted by passengers, drivers and owners alike.

            If the NV2000 becomes the de facto standard as Checker was 60 years ago, so be it. I simply objected to such a thing being mandated before the design was proven, and by bureaucrats who wouldn’t be accountable if it fails.

            As for who cares what fleet buyers want, it certainly matters in one regard: cost. If the NV2000 is the only choice, the temptation to price gouge is there. Same with parts and service. And if these things fail, that costs money. And guess who gets screwed if that’s the case?

            I’m not hugely sympathetic to the taxi industry, but it is a business like any other. Government shouldn’t have the right to tell it to only buy one key product or else.

            I’m partners in a creative services business. Writers and account managers work on Microsoft 7 or 8. Designers use Mac. Programs use open source. Everyone’s productive and we make it all work.

            Suppose a government regulation came down saying we could only use Mac because of a deal made with Apple? I’d be the first out with the pitchforks.

            I don’t see how what TLC and the City of NY did was much different. That’s why I think the judge did the right thing, something we agree on, if from different perspectives.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Suppose a government regulation came down saying we could only use Mac because of a deal made with Apple?”

            That analogy doesn’t apply, because you aren’t issued a government license that provides you with a protected market.

            One of the benefits of a medallion for the cab operator is that it restricts competition that could reduce their pricing and their total revenues. Similarly to a broadcasting license, which allocates a scarce resource to a relatively small group of people, the license may come with strings attached.

            It’s fair to debate the details. But it makes no sense to claim that the city should have no role in getting some quid pro quo in exchange for the license. Here, the city wants to provide a uniform level of comfort and reduce tailpipe emissions: the stated goals make sense.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      “the mandate forces owners to use comfortable, relatively fuel-efficient vehicles that provide a much more pleasant experience for the rider.”

      Is there perhaps a way to accomplish this same end without mandating a specific make and model as the only option for NYC cabs?

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Yes, there are plenty. In fact, NYC in 2012 provided an “interim list” that fleet owners could buy while waiting for the NV2000 to go into production.

        They included the Camry, ALtima and Fusion hybrids, the Transit Connect, the Caravan with ADA ramps, the Sienna minivan and the VW Jetta diesel wagon. Now they can continue to buy these models.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Given that hailing a cab successfully when you need one (i.e. in rush hour or in crummy weather) is nearly impossible (not to mention getting a cab if you like you’re going to a destination other than the nicer parts of Manhattan or Park Slope), the answer to the problem is competition. Not only are there other dispatch services, like Uber (unless NYC has banned it), but there are numerous “black car” services available. As far as the lousy condition of cabs goes, the solution is a non-corrupt inspection system. Here in DC, the cabs are inspected, but judging by the number of old Crown Vics spewing blue smoke, some money must be getting passed under the table at inspection time.

      As far as London cabs go, there are numerous other car services in London besides the “official” London cabs. The biggest obstacle to driving an official London cab is passing the test that shows you have “The Knowledge” that is, the ability to find any address in London without things like GPS units.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Are there any other vehicle-related situations where various groups have interests that are not aligned? If so, have they been satisfactorily resolved without mandating one vehicle be used exclusively?

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Official taxi for an official theme park.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Does this mean all the bribes will have to be refunded?

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      Hey, that was pure conjecture on my part – though it wouldn’t surprise anyone if it turned out to be true.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Most are in the form of “gratuities” to public officials, who must report them, but are legal. Side deals with relatives’ companies/interests are sleazy, but it takes a smoking gun and trial to determine if a law was broken. Nobody uses anything as simple, transparent and illegal as a bribe anymore.

  • avatar
    motormouth

    Who cares about whether a moronic pseudo politician has lost his backhander after having his NYC taxi cab monopoly closed down.

    The best part of this piece is this: ‘Judge Shlomo Hagler’.

    What an excellent name.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    By Nissans research claims I assume that the NV200 would have unpainted bumpers and be easily serviced. I bet it has a small Sentra engine in it that shares parts with the Altimas engine.

    At least thats what I’d think, we’re in an era where we can’t even made decent Police cars anymore (We being America).

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Well until the Charger is sunsetted, although I agree all of the other police entries are laughable.

      Edit: Police car entries, the Tahoe PPV is pretty badass.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I’ll admit that I have some fondness for the Caprice, but limited availability makes it impractical for police use, though I’d rather have the name “Caprice” over the SS.

        The new Taurus is just pathetic, before it Ford had the 500-based Taurus with the same platform and those have pretty good greenhouses.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I can’t speak for other departments, but from what I understand our city’s dept had an interest in AWD given the topography of the region. Pittsburgh PD has run FWD GM sedans as squad cars since at least 1992 (starting with Bonnevilles, seriously). However after a few ’12 Impalas were already ordered they decided to switch to Ford’s Taurus and later due to its sucky ergonomics now Explorers for all MY2014 orders. From what I was told the Taurus actually handles very well (better than Explorer) and both are equally quick, but officers taller than 5’8 were complaining about squeezing into the Tauruses. Others complained about the console being in the way or not having enough trunk room for gear. Ford would have been better served by continuing the original Five Hundred chassis for Taurus but I imagine this was abandoned due to the drivetrain/transmissions they wanted to use for SHO and the Police editions.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            That makes sense, RWD V8s are a bit impractical for some police car duties, I always liked the Impalas modest styling prior to the recent face-lifts.

            From what I know, in 2009 Ford was just beginning its new styling direction on Focus’s, Fusions, and Fiestas, so they re-did the Taurus to both fit the brands styling and address complaints of the earlier models looking “bland”.

            Of course, these days in order to not be bland one must make a cramped, bunker-like car with narrow windows.

            I just looked up the interior for the new Taurus and can’t help but find it to be more plastic than seats, do we really need huge center consoles and dashboards that drop in the center?

            And to think that people called Crown Vics cramped (including me), at least you could point fingers at the vintage drivetrain it had. The new Taurus has no exscuse.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’ll concede Panther may have never been optimal for taxi duty, but it held up well for its owners and could withstand plenty of abuse long beyond it’s shelf life. I highly doubt the “Taxi of Tomorrow” will fare as well. Taxi of Tomorrow = Purpose built disposable transport. Planned obsolesce 1, Well built products 0.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Do you have anything to support this contention, or is it just a general feeling?

      Do you have any hands-on experience with the NV200, or specific ways in which it is less “well built” than a Panther?

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        The Panthers well known for police use and taking a good battering, the only Nissans that can take the same sort of abuse are trucks. I’ve been to races and have friends with Nissans and absolutely none of them are up to any heavy tasks.

        At 28: I’m not sure about “planned obsolesce”, Toyotas models have held up alright as taxis but they’re Toyotas, they should be tough.

        In Chicago I got to ride in an Altima cab, an Xb, a Prius, and a good old Panther. The Xb was the roomiest and its AC was very welcome in the terrible heat, but the Vic had the best ride, Prius was okay but rode badly, the Altima was just forgettable.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The van I see in the graphic looks purpose designed and disposable to me. When the taxi runs into semi-serious drivetrain issues a few years and X miles down the line will they be effectively repaired or simply replaced? If one is involved in a minor side collision, can a replacement sliding door be sourced or will it be junked by the operator?

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            What do you mean by “purpose designed” and why is that a bad thing?

            Please expound on what makes a vehicle “look disposable”. What specific features in the photo are indications of disposability?

            Why do you think operators are less likely to replace an engine or door on an NV200 than on a Crown Victoria?

            I recommend you do some research on the NV200. It was not built specifically to serve as an NYC taxi.

            One of the primary applications for the chassis appears to be as a general utility vehicle in developing countries. It’s hardly a hothouse flower.

            It appears that you are making very broad statements about the serviceability and durability of a vehicle (with which you have no experience) based on essentially nothing.

            Am I mistaken, or are you actually trying to determine how suitable a vehicle is for fleet service based solely on a picture on the internet?

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            I’m sure that they’re designed to be cheap and easy to build like many modern cars, you drive it until you go to change the oil and learn that the car has “lifetime oil”.

            Replacing body panels, like many modern cars, probably won’t be very economical on something as cheap as the NV200 will probably be. Though I’d blame this on price gouging.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Please expound on what makes a vehicle ‘look disposable.”

            I believe that his point is that it is Japanese, and that he doesn’t like Japanese cars.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          “The Xb was the roomiest and its AC was very welcome in the terrible heat”

          The xB makes a really good taxi.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I have zero experience with Nissan’s product line of any kind, I base my thoughts on general minivan usage and dispose-ability.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        At Bikegoesbaas

        “I recommend you do some research on the NV200. It was not built specifically to serve as an NYC taxi.”

        But yet its being billed as “the taxi of tomorrow” and according to Nissan was design with New York tourism in mind.

        From my research the NV200 uses the same platform as the Juke and the Cube, if you’ve had experience with either of these cars feel free to enlighten us.

        Otherwise you have no business picking apart speculative posts.

        • 0 avatar
          wstarvingteacher

          I am on my second cube. The first one was a six speed and we had over 80k trouble free miles with zero repairs. Traded for an automatic because of knee problems. If I can past the uselessness of owning something where a trailer hitch voids the warranty, I think I will be ok.

          I understand the engine and CVT is one class larger on the van compared to the cube. AC is strong. Chassis rugged. I think there is too little room for luggage in a cube if you load it with people. I am sure the van accounts for that. I think that using a cube, soul, or scion xb as a starting point for a taxi is a great idea. However, if I were ordered to do so I would probably find another way to earn a living.

          Say what you will but when the Govt tells you what gear to use versus mandating the end results, things have gone too far.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    I get the feeling that some of the commenters never lived in NYC. After living there 15 years (and still having an apartment there now) – I think this judge just screwed over a lot of people.

    Right now they have ‘personal choice’ in NYC and outside of the long wheel base crown vics almost all the cabs suck. There is no leg room in all those hybrids. The minivans are okay but they seem likely to fall apart – and aren’t that comfortable.

    Going to one purpose built cab would have been huge step forward. And I will tell you why those cabbies don’t give a rat’s ass about customer comfort. If you let them choose its going to be some of the most uncomfortable rides known to man..

    The big problem is when you use a non-purpose built cab they put a divider in there that’s like 2 feet thick – it screws all your legroom and it WAS NEVER crash tested. So if you were in a crash you would probably hit your head and die – or at least have your legs crushed.

    Booh. On all the people that think Bloomberg was overreaching. This guy got screwed twice now with transportation. He wanted congestion pricing so all the guys from NJ – not to mention various 18 wheelers think twice about barreling through the city when they don’t have to.

    Autocratic or not – Bloomberg tried to make NYC better. I wish Bloomberg got his way. I’d make three anti-car changes if I was mayor and had power.

    #1) Get rid of all the damn street parking. Okay not all of it – but a ton of it. There is traffic jams everywhere in NYC – all the time why do they need 2 rows of parking and two rows of people double parked on all streets at all time? WTF..stupid.

    #2) Congestion pricing up the ying yang. Hey if you want the luxury of cruising in your S-class pay up.. This will keep guys who probably should be taking public transportation from cruising to the city on a Lark.

    #3) Reign in the damn taxis. Not only one kind of car – but that car wouldn’t have a horn. And I’d actually throw cabbies out of the business when they broke every friggin driving law know to man.. Same thing with motorcycle gangs. Man up NYC. I never seen traffic cops so blasé about obvious violations.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      As much as i like New York I’ve always found it pointless to why people feel the need to drive and own cars in the city, I’m all for taxing them and getting people to walk for once while cutting down congestion.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I have never been nor have any inclination to be near NYC, the closest I have been was JFK airport… so I honestly can’t relate to the problems you’ve named. I’m not sure what the answers are but I’m generally against any additional taxation as you’ve suggested as you only pay tribute to an inefficient bureaucracy and help to line the pockets of political hacks therein.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        But Bloomberg sucks because he wants to tell me how big of a soda I can drink.

        If I want to drink 44 ounces of Cherry Coke, then just freakin’ let me!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I really don’t know enough about Bloomberg to make an genuine judgement, what I do know is he was a billionaire coming into the mayor’s job and he strikes me as an autocratic tyrant.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Sadly what I said is not a joke…

            http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/30/us-sodaban-lawsuit-idUSBRE96T0UT20130730

            Declared unconstitutional, yes, but the fact that he tried to do something so pointlessly totalitarian speaks volumes.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I’m not sure what would work for reducing congestion, and despite my previous post I doubt that taxes will work (expensive gas just makes people crabby, but they’ll still drive SUVs while using none of the luggage space).

        While I’d like to visit NYC I’d never want to live there, I cannot understand why anyone would pay higher prices and deal with tourists to live in such a noisy congested area.

        And this is coming from someone who enjoys living in cities.

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          Congestion pricing was just going to be higher bridge/tolls during certain hours. Its been proven to work in cities like London. This with less street parking would making living in NYC a lot nicer for the residents there.

          It also has nice side effects like emergency vehicles would actually be able to get to places in a timely manner.

          Our market isn’t really free – there are taxes on everything. Using them to control unwanted behavior is smart, IMHO. Just like mandating taxis that actually fit people comfortably in the back..is a good idea.

          Commentators here seem to judge Taxis by how they look or how advanced they are.. But really what matters for riders is how roomy and comfortable they are.. and how much traffic there is.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      This. This this this this this.

      • 0 avatar
        CelticPete

        NYC has an amazing amount of single attractive women. That’s one very good reason to live there. Its also one of the few cities in America where you simply never have to drive. It also has a lot of fantastic eating places. Finally you can never say there is nothing to do in NYC.

        I actually prefer the suburbs but if you have the means living in NYC is pretty choice..

        • 0 avatar
          bomberpete

          I’m a native New Yorker who’s lived all over. Not everything has to be some Manhattan rabbit hole crammed with people. We put together the kale to find a modest, affordable 2-bedroom in Brooklyn. When you live here awhile, you figure out ways to not blow your money on dumb stuff, especially if you’re raising kids.

          Nothing wrong with the suburbs but I’m a city boy myself. To me, it’s home – just like living anywhere else — great sense of community. And yeah, there’s museums, restaurants, theaters, etc. really close by.

    • 0 avatar
      danwat1234

      If they used Prius V hybrids it might have enough leg room since that is the largest Prius Hybrid (besides the Camry or Highlander Hybrid).

      It only makes sense for all new cabs to be full hybrids because the fuel savings will save lots of money in the long run.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    The saddest thing about this is that after all these posts, no one remembered to give a shout-out to the one recent vehicle that actually WAS designed to be a taxicab.
    Admittedly the late-stage V6 and more modern transmission would have helped the mileage, but the original drivetrain was designed specifically for fleet operators with extensive experience in servicing the Panther platform.
    Now, it wasn’t exclusively NYC’s fault that the company went out of business (a combination of short tranches and mis-directed marketing weren’t helpful) but at least the builder of the vehicle had the sense to buy the design and IP to make it.
    And if you want to see how good it was, go to Chicago or Hartford, where it’s the cab-of-choice. Ask the driver.
    Oh, and by the way, the vehicle is MADE IN THE USA baby. Not Turkey, not Japan, not Mehico, not Tennessee.

    The MV-1, designed by The Vehicle Production Group, made in Mishiwaka IN and marketed by AM General.


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