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3 Competing for Design of Next Model of Taxi
If It Weren’t Yellow, You’d Hardly Know It Was a Taxi
The New York Times

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
Published: November 15, 2010



Lots of headroom, sloping picture windows, a spacious trunk and a roof resembling a top hat. Is this the new look of the New York City taxi?

An icon of the urban landscape, the humble yellow cab is set to undergo an unprecedented face-lift — perhaps the biggest change to the city’s street aesthetic since licensed cabs were required to be painted yellow in 1970.

The Bloomberg administration on Monday unveiled three finalists in its competition to replace the current taxis, a mishmash of sedans, minivans and hybrid sport utility vehicles, with a single City Hall-approved model.

By 2014, when the first new vehicles are expected to appear, the city’s taxis will bear more resemblance to the oblong, obsolete Checker cab than the fleet’s current stalwart, the Ford Crown Victoria, which is to be discontinued next year.

All three competing designs, submitted by Ford, Nissan and the Turkish manufacturer Karsan, have the bulky appearance of a minivan. Gone is the cramped legroom of a hybrid car: these interiors feature generously sized backseats and, in Karsan’s case, a rear-facing drop seat to encourage conversation among passengers (that, or motion sickness).

The winner of the contest will receive the exclusive right to supply the cabs for the city’s fleet of just over 13,000 taxis for at least a decade. Taxi officials said the contract could have an overall potential value of $1 billion.

On Monday, officials said that the competition remained in flux. “Each is promising, but none is perfect,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said of the design entries. “We are not obliged to go with anything if it does not meet our needs.”

The Taxi and Limousine Commission is expected to continue negotiating with the manufacturers over specific features like wheelchair accessibility and seating dimensions. And an online survey has been set up for the public to say whether it would like sunroofs, electrical chargers or other amenities added to the final design.

David S. Yassky, the taxi commissioner, said he expected a winner to be announced early next year, although the process had been delayed before; the commission had originally planned to sign a contract last month but pushed back the deadline.

Ford’s entry, the Transit Connect, is a customized version of a vehicle already on the market, and Mr. Yassky said the submission benefited from Ford’s history of reliable service with the city. A design by Nissan’s North American branch, based on the company’s NV200 van, featured the most legroom and the potential for an entirely electric propulsion system.



Karsan, which builds cars for Fiat and Hyundai, submitted a design that was entirely original for the project. Its entry, the V1, is the only finalist that is fully accessible to passengers in wheelchairs, and the car could potentially include wireless Internet access.



Four other submissions were rejected by the city, including a design from General Motors.

Full text at the link
 

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I never thought I'd see a comparison where the Transit Connect is the best looking vehicle. And it's not even close. Karsan is a finalist? Really, Bloomberg? Really?
 

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I hope the TC wins as well

hopefully they will bring over the manual option as well... but highly unlikely
 

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Manual? For NYC stop-and-go taxi?
for taxi use no, but for just the regular Transit Connect.. yes

sorry should have been more clear on that
 

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The TC is practical basic and not so fancy, has a tall roof. The only problem is the FWD set up. Oh well.
 

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The TC is practical basic and not so fancy, has a tall roof. The only problem is the FWD set up. Oh well.
would taxis really need to be RWD?
 

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WHy does there have to be an official Taxi designated?
I know they use multiple vehicles for taxi services now, vans, escapes, and CVs.

Would not being chosen as the 'NY Taxi' mean that the transit could not be ordered by the major taxi cab companies?
 

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It is very discouraging that New York City, the largest city in the UNITED STATES is considering foreign vehicles for the taxi fleet. We need to support US companies.
 
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