'Taxi of Tomorrow,' a Nissan minivan, arrives in NYC

By The Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 1, 2015 at 12:31 p.m.


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NEW YORK (AP) — It's go time for the city's new taxis: Tuesday marked the official start for the new standard for yellow cabs.

The Nissan NV200, known as the "Taxi of Tomorrow," has been in the works for a few years, with several hundred already on city streets. The vans have charging ports for riders' electronics as well as large skylight roofs.

From this point on, most yellow cab owners will be required to switch to the Nissan models when it comes time to replace their current vehicles. Taxi officials estimate about 80 percent of the city's 13,600 yellow cabs will be NV200s. Some owners still will be able to choose from a short list of hybrid and wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

The full-scale implementation of the new design comes after a legal dispute. New York state's highest court had ruled in June that the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission had the authority to choose a particular model to replace retired cars.

The seven judges of the Court of Appeals unanimously decided against an association of taxi medallion owners, who had argued that the commission could set specifications but not choose a specific model.

"Many millions of New Yorkers and visitors have already experienced rides in the more than 750 Taxis of Tomorrow — well before the city got final OK from the courts to formally launch the program," said TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi. "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."

The plan for the cab had first been announced by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His successor, Bill de Blasio, had been among those opposing the plan, but his administration finally supported it when faced with the possibility of a Nissan lawsuit.

The city's yellow cabs have faced increased competition in recent years from app-based ride-hailing services like Uber.

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