The judge blocked the plan to remake New York’s yellow cab fleet with a minivan-style “Taxi of Tomorrow” three weeks before cab owners would be required to start phasing in the new vehicles.
Nissan Motor Co., which has a 10-year contract to supply the cabs, said it was evaluating its next steps. Siding with cab owners who challenged a requirement that would make them gradually replace the vast majority of the city’s roughly 13,000 taxis, Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Hagler said the city Taxi and Limousine Commission had overstepped its authority.
“The notion that New York City should have one exclusive ‘iconic’ New York City taxicab is a policy decision that is reserved for the City Council,” he wrote in ruling on the latest in a series of lawsuits challenging the new cabs on various grounds.
The city’s chief lawyer, Michael Cardozo, called the decision “fundamentally wrong,” and Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said officials remain committed to what he called “by far the safest taxicab ever designed.”
For decades, the taxi fleet has included a variety of car models, modified to serve as cabs. The taxi commission solicited proposals for an exclusive cab design in 2009 and chose the Nissan NV-200 in 2011.
The proposed cabs’ champions point to both safety features and such amenities as a roomy back seat and a panoramic roof. And the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a drivers’ group, said standardizing the fleet could help driver-owners negotiate lower prices for their vehicles.
But the Greater New York Taxi Association, an owners’ group, said the city was improperly forcing owners to buy a vehicle they didn’t want. The group also noted that the NV-200 isn’t a hybrid and isn’t wheelchair-accessible without modifications.
) - Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 - filed under Industry
. Image credit: .
Discuss: Judge blocks Nissan’s NYC taxi plan weeks before start