Justice Schlomo Hagler may have just put a big dent in Nissan's plans to rule New York City's taxi fleets and outgoing Mayor Mike Bloomberg's vision of a unified fleet of yellow cabs.
As an October 28 deadline approached that would see all current, non-hybrid taxis replaced over by the Nissan NV200 over a three-to-five-year span, the legal battle that's enveloped the Taxi of Tomorrow program from the start has intensified. In a lawsuit, the Greater New York Taxi Association claims New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission overstepped its powers in mandating that taxi fleets are refitted with the NV200, according to the New York Daily News. This isn't the first time the courts have sided with the cabbies in the ToT debate.
Justice Hagler agreed with the cabbies, striking down the Taxi of Tomorrow purchasing requirements, and saying, "Simply stated, the power to contract and compel medallion owners to purchase the Nissan NV200 from Nissan for ten years does not exist in the City Charter," according to The Wall Street Journal.
This is still a fluid situation, but we'll stay with it as more information becomes available.
UPDATE: Nissan USA spokesperson Travis Parman said via email, "We are disappointed in the court's decision, but it will not prevent our plan to start upgrading the NYC taxi fleet with the Nissan Taxi of Tomorrow at the end of the month. Given the specific NYC taxi research and development that we have conducted, we are confident that the Nissan taxi provides optimal safety, comfort and convenience for passengers and drivers alike. We are evaluating options for next steps regarding the exclusivity contract.