It seems that the much-hyped ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ programme of former Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has come apart at the seams. At a Manhattan appellate court, New York’s cab fleet operators gained permission to appeal the city’s $ 1 billion plan to make the Nissan NV200 the city’s ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ to the state’s top court, the Court of Appeals in Albany.
The Greater New York Taxi Association, which initiated the lawsuit, said the programme “had been flawed from the beginning. (…) The Taxi of Tomorrow as planned forces owners to purchase a single foreign-made vehicle, which is neither fuel-efficient nor wheelchair accessible,” the group said in a statement.
After a contest between Ford, Turkish manufacturer Karsan and Nissan, the latter won a contract in 2011 valued at $1 billion over 10 years to supply more than 15,000 NV-200 minivans with sliding doors, more luggage space and airbags in the back, for New York’s taxi fleet. In September 2012 the TLC officially designated the Nissan NV200 as the official ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ and required owners of medallions to buy the $29,700 vehicles.
Already in December 2012 the largest taxi fleet operators sued the city trying to block the requirement. A judge stopped the programme five months later, saying it violated the administrative code because it didn’t allow medallion owners to buy hybrid vehicles. The city then revised the rules to let medallion owners buy hybrids until Nissan develops a hybrid version of the NV200.
Again in July 2013 the operators sued and a judge blocked the plan from going forward, saying the TLC had exceeded its authority under the city charter by requiring the purchase of a specific vehicle.
• Not New York’s ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’.