The streets of New York City might be filling up with a lot more Nissans in the next few years. A New York appeals court ruled that the city's mandate to replace old taxis with a fleet entirely made up of the Nissan NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow was legal. The decision overturned a previous ruling that decided The Big Apple couldn't force cabbies to all purchase the same vehicle.

Justice David B. Saxe wrote the court's opinion saying the Taxi of Tomorrow is a "legally appropriate response to the agency's statutory obligation to produce a 21st-century taxicab consistent with the broad interests and perspectives that the agency is charged with protecting," according to Bloomberg. The Greater New York Taxi Association, the plaintiff in the case, could still possibly attempt a second appeal.

Nissan originally won the 10-year contract estimated to be worth about $1 billion in 2011, beating out Ford and a Turkish company. Under the Taxi of Tomorrow plan, all New York cabbies would have to switch to the NV200 within three of five years of the van going into service, and it would replace the 16 vehicles previously authorized as taxis. In 2013, the mandate received multiple challenges though, including an attempted ban by cab drivers because the replacement wasn't a hybrid. In a separate case, state Supreme Court judge Schlomo Hagler decided that there was nothing in the city charter that forced a taxi driver to choose a specific vehicle. This was the case that was just overturned. In the meantime, the automaker has been selling the NV200 to New York cabbies at prices around $29,700.

Nissan North America responded to Autoblog about its reaction to the ruling with a prepared statement that reads:

Nissan is pleased with the Court's decision to uphold the Taxi of Tomorrow program. Given the specific NYC taxi research and development that Nissan conducted-including crash testing with the installed partition-we are confident that the Nissan NV200 taxi provides a solution that is optimal in safety, comfort and convenience for passengers and drivers alike.



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  • 65 Comments
      Montie
      • 6 Months Ago
      Checkers were purpose built nice looking taxis. Why couldn't they make something that looked like that with a modern hybrid electric powertrain
        Dean
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Montie
        The Marathon was not a good looking car, it wasn't bad looking either. It was definitely unique though. It would be cool had there been an updated version.
      cpmanx
      • 6 Months Ago
      One interesting side note: Before he was mayor, Bill deBlasio warned of a potential conflict of interest in the selection of the Nissan taxi. http://www.scribd.com/doc/54525780/Letter-on-Potential-Conflict-of-Interest-in-Taxi-of-Tomorrow-Competition But the sad truth is, there were no outstanding options among the three finalists in the Taxi of Tomorrow competition. Ford presented a halfhearted modification of the previous-generation Transit Connect (then almost at the end of its life cycle). The third bidder, Karsan, has no US presence and had never executed a project like this before. The real question is why these were the only options.
      thecommentator2013
      • 6 Months Ago
      LOL. In "free" America a court decides which cabs are legal. How about that? =D
        ScottT
        • 6 Months Ago
        @thecommentator2013
        The court didn't decide which cabs were legal, the NYC Taxi & Limo commission decides which cabs they'll issue medallions to. My understanding was this ruling overturned the previous ruling that it violated the Americans Disability Act (which is less than clear in the autoblog and the Bloomberg article that is linked).
        waetherman
        • 6 Months Ago
        @thecommentator2013
        If you think put forefathers overthrew British tyranny so you could ride in a Ford Transit, you need to get a history refresher.
          lne937s
          • 6 Months Ago
          @waetherman
          Well, since the Ford is coming from Turkey and the Nissan is a NAFTA product, the tariffs would be more fitting for the Ford. BTW, for the cargo version of the Transit Connect, they affix rear seats before shipping and then remove them after customs to get around the "Chicken Tax" 25% tariff. Chicken Tax is also likely why Ford doesn't import the current Ranger.
          cpmanx
          • 6 Months Ago
          @waetherman
          In the immediate aftermath of the Revolutionary War, the federal government imposed high import tariffs and blocked British and (later) French goods. Starting in the 1820s, the government issued exclusive charters to certain companies allowing them to establish railroad lines. It has ever been thus. And yes, when you have a fleet of vehicles performing a public service, I think it's pretty reasonable to regulate them. I don't particularly like this Nissan van, and I have concerns about how the selection was made, but the principle of picking a single taxi for the city is well within the traditional scope of what government does in a free (yes, free) society.
      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 6 Months Ago
      Welcome to New Uzbekistan City.
        cpmanx
        • 6 Months Ago
        @zoom_zoom_zoom
        Right. Because arbitrary arrest and torture is really pretty much the same thing as requiring a uniform taxi fleet. Jeez.
      ffforte
      • 6 Months Ago
      A worthy blog post would be feedback from cabbies about the NV200 about day to day use vs other vehicles currently in service.
      waetherman
      • 6 Months Ago
      In principal, I agree with the idea of a taxi of tomorrow - a uniform taxi fleet could have some advantages for passengers. But the whole process was just wrong, and definitely smacked of corruption. In the end we needed up with a cab that is ugly, isn't a hybrid (so it's more costly to operate and pollutes more) and doesn't serve the needs of residents, especially the handicapped. We had an opportunity to make every cab in NYC wheelchair accessible and potentially get rid of the expensive Access-A-Ride system, but instead we (Lord Bloomberg) chose an ugly-ass Nissan that makes nobody happy. It's been seven years since ToT was first conceived and five years since the RFP was issued. That's a whole design cycle for most cars, and there have been a lot of new platforms released in those years. Now that it's been established as legal, it's time to reconvene stakeholders and have a new contest to really get the most advanced, accessible, efficient taxi we can.
        cpmanx
        • 6 Months Ago
        @waetherman
        Well said. The idea of a unified fleet is entirely reasonable. The selection process, and the winner that emerged, were both big disappointments.
      dovegraybird
      • 6 Months Ago
      I am just interested in the huge kickback someone got to make all cabs the same make
      Master Austin
      • 6 Months Ago
      The Taxi of Tomorrow, looks like a 3rd world product of yester-year. Door cut-outs llook horrible, they couldnt hide the slider door track. All the fitments look as if it's something you would see in India. Not sure why they are forcing this down the taxi-cab companies.
      Niels Marienlund
      • 6 Months Ago
      I agree taxis are supposed to be function over form, but there is still no excuse for how ugly this thing is.
      ExigeS
      • 6 Months Ago
      Such a horrible "nyc taxi of tomorrow" ; why bother with the landmark background shots, 7 pictures in and the brain still reads wow that's a crappy looking car.
        VDuB
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ExigeS
        Do you need a good looking taxi cab? Crown Vics are so pretty?
        Kevin Gregerson
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ExigeS
        It's not always about look other than being able to locate it in a crowd. A lot of it has to do more with functionality and functionally they choose this one. I'm sure once people start riding in them they won't exactly complain about riding in one of these vs a prius.
      Eggmania
      • 6 Months Ago
      new yorker here. this is an upgrade from current town cars.
        landoflostsouls
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Eggmania
        You're from what part of NYC? Apart from Black cars, what are these town cars you speak of?
        lne937s
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Eggmania
        Live in Queens, work in Manhattan and I definitely agree. Once people ride in one, they'll get it.
      Whitaker Behrens
      • 6 Months Ago
      It is kind of...Stupid, yeah that's the word - stupid that the supposed "Cab of Tomorrow" program didn't solicit hybrid or otherwise more progressive drivetrain technology for their next-generation cabs. If they're going to force drivers to purchase a car, they could at least make it less expensive for the owners to operate..
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