Let's get one fact straight right off the bat: no current vehicles on American roadways were designed from the start to serve as taxis. Sure, the Crown Victoria from Ford may be the most often used vehicle for taxi service around the country, but it and its Fox platform were not specifically designed to be used as a taxi. We're not suggesting that the Crown Vic doesn't make a good people-mover, but its origins are as a vehicle for public consumption, a family car if you will. Why do we care? The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade (MTBOT) has made claims that hybrid taxis are unsafe and has asked manufacturers to certify their vehicles for taxi use. For obvious reasons, the OEMs are a bit hesitant to do so.

Honda has flat out denied the request, stating that it never designed the cars to serve as taxis and Toyota has so far chosen not to respond. Automakers like Nissan, Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors have suggested that it's not their responsibility to ensure the safety of a modified vehicle. Because the city of New York requires a partition between the passengers and the driver, the car's inherent safety and safety features may be compromised. Note, this has nothing to do with the hybrid drivetrain of any specific vehicle. Perhaps a dedicated vehicle would be best. It will definitely be interesting to watch how this plays out, as New York Mayor Bloomberg announced that the entire fleet would become hybridized by 2012. We'll see.

[Source: Huffington Post]

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