By Quentin Fottrell
The New York taxi sedan is as American as the Chrysler Building. Buckle up: the new cab just announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a mini-van made by Japanese automaker Nissan: the futuristic sounding NV200. A public “Taxi of Tomorrow” survey got nearly 23,000 responses with respondents saying their three top priorities were environmental sustainability, comfort and safety. The NV200 will get 25 miles to the gallon versus 15 for the Crown Victoria. However, Wednesday’s free AM New York newspaper carries the front page headline “Hail, No!” and said it was a van more suitable for soccer moms.
Here’s an added incentive to like it: the New York Mayor’s office says the relatively low cost for running the $29,000 cab will help reduce need for future fare increases.
For those who don’t like feeling like the last peanut in the jar rolling around in the back of a minivan, fear not. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the NV200 will be roomier and safer for the city’s 600,000 daily taxi passengers. “It’s going to be the safest, most comfortable and most convenient cab the City has ever had,” the mayor said. Before you turn your nose up at the new model, the NV200 has independent climate control, filtered interior air, passenger airbags, sliding doors and more leg room. Nissan, which employs over 11,000 people at its facilities in the U.S., beat out Karsan’s proposal and Ford Motor Co.’s Transitconnect and several other companies to provide 13,000 new yellow cabs starting in 2013.
Is this the end of an era akin to the demise of London’s red telephone boxes, or the start of a new one with fancy anti-bacterial, non-stick seat covers?