Outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is looking for a way to save the Taxi of Tomorrow, built by Franklin-based Nissan North America. He wants to replace more than 10,000 cabs with the Nissan vehicle, but a court ruled earlier this year that the city couldn’t force taxi drivers to switch.
The new taxis look like boxy minivans, and feature amenities like retractable roofs, more legroom, and ports for charging cellphones and other gadgets. Nissan has launched its own marketing campaign, urging New Yorkers to say “hail yes” to the new cabs.
About a dozen or so cabs are already cruising New York streets, but the Bloomberg Administration is still looking for ways to make them mandatory. They’re appealing the court’s decision, and the city’s taxi commission meets this week to consider rule changes for what vehicles can serve as cabs. Nissan’s taxi is the only one to meet most of the specifications, writes Capital New York’s Dana Rubinstein:
“On December 19, the city’s taxi commission will hold a hearing on new rules that would require most taxicabs to be vehicles that were crash-tested with their plastic partitions already inside them. As it turns out, only one vehicle fits that bill: the Nissan NV200, also known as the Taxi of Tomorrow.”
“The rules would also require most vehicles to have passenger-controlled air conditioning, which rules out several existing vehicles, but not the Nissan NV200.”
Bill de Blasio becomes New York’s mayor January 1st. While he said he opposed the Taxi of Tomorrow on the campaign trail, he hasn’t said what he’ll do with the program once he takes office.