When we think of purpose-built taxis, only one brand comes to mind: LTI Limited, producers of the iconic London taxi. Their latest edition, the TXII, is highly versatile, offering features like a ramp for easy wheelchair access. In America, taxis are usually mid- to full-size sedans, though some large urban markets like New York City have seen a sprinkling of other vehicles such as SUVs and minivans enter their fleets.
Enter Standard Taxi, a Troy, Michigan-based outfit who is looking to do for the US what LTI has done in the UK: create a highly recognizable and enormously practical taxi specialized for North American use.
The recognizable part won't be an issue. The Standard Taxi looks like a compact armored car, with a tall, pedestrian-friendly nose, high roof, and a stubby rear that houses 26.7 cu. ft. of luggage space. Interior volume is 139 cu. ft. - on par with the Crown Vics passengers usually flag down when they need a ride. Unlike the venerable Crown Vic, however, the Standard Taxi seats four in the passenger compartment, something that hasn't been seen in a a reguler car-style taxi since the classic Checker cabs with their pair of jumpseats against the divider. The Standard Taxi accomplishes this by sealing off the driver's seat in it's own little box, opening up the rest of the car.
Follow the jump for more info on and photos of this proposed people mover.
Thanks for tip, Mark!
[Source: Standard Taxi]
The Standard Taxi also complies with American and Canadian standards for disabled individuals, providing wheelchair access to the passenger compartment via a standard recessed ramp. Power comes from a GM 4.3L V6 that's been prepared for the punishing daily grind taxicabs go through, and like the most popular livery cars in use today, it's rear-wheel drive. You can check out the car's full specs here.
Whether or not the Standard Taxi makes serious inroads in North America remains to be seen. At first glance, it seems like it might be a little low for pothole-ridden streets, terrain the big sedans navigate with relative ease. We're sure that's easily corrected. Other than that, it has the makings of a very serious contender. Come Q4 2007, taxi fleet operators may have another compelling option to choose from. In their eyes, this ugly duckling may look like a gorgeous yellow swan.