AM General – the same company that's behind the Hummer – is making it easier for taxi drivers to buy one of its wheelchair accessible cabs in New York. Between the factory's own incentives and those offered by the city, the new MV-1 Empire Taxi can cost as little as $11,200.

Unlike other vehicles that can be converted after production for handicapped mobility, the MV-1 is designed by AM General from the get-go as a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Mobility Ventures LLC – the AM General subsidiary responsible for the MV-1 – displayed a yellow cab version at the New York Auto Show in 2012, and is now bringing it to market as the MV-1 Empire Taxi. Pricing has been announced, and it is rather competitive, to say the least.

Mobility Ventures charges $33,000 for one of its wheelchair-accessibly taxis. But the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission is offering a $14,000 grant toward the purchase of a wheelchair-accessible cab, bringing the purchase price down to $19,000. Of course, the Commission will offer the same incentives towards the purchase of any wheelchair-accessible vehicle, but converting an existing van for the purpose generally costs a good $10-20k. So while a Nissan NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow, for example, might start at under $30k, add in the cost of mobility conversion and you're looking at a lot more – a solid $10k more, according to Mobility Ventures.

If the $19k purchase price isn't enough to get New York cabbies on board, the manufacturer and the commission are offering further incentives for some customers. For every wheelchair-bound passenger a driver picks up, the city will pay the cabby 50 cents – that may not sound like a lot, but it adds up over time. What's more, Mobility Ventures will match the incentive for the first 25 customers who buy an MV-1 Empire Taxi, which combined can come to as much as $7,800 in payments over the course of a year. Work that into the equation and the end cost of the new Empire Taxi could come out to just $11,200. Mobility Ventures is working with other cities to offer similar incentives, with negotiations currently under way in Washington with the DC Taxi Commission.
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Mobility Ventures Unveils New "MV-1 Empire Taxi" for NYC

- More Legroom and Luggage Space Than any Other Taxi or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
- Innovative Program will Match TLC Payments to Drivers for Every Ride in a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, Along with Special MV-1 Purchase Discounts

NEW YORK, Jan. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Mobility Ventures LLC, today unveiled the "MV-1 Empire Taxi", a specially designed version of the company's MV-1 that provides more legroom and luggage space than any other taxi vehicle operating in New York City – and is fully wheelchair accessible.

To mark the launch of the "MV-1 Empire Taxi", Mobility Ventures is offering a driver incentive bonus match to existing NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) drivers, along with special MV-1 discount pricing. This will make the versatile "MV-1 Empire Taxi" notably less expensive to purchase and drive than a wheelchair converted NV200, (also called the "Taxi of Tomorrow."), and support the TLC's goal of increasing the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles available to hail. Under this innovative program, an "MV-1 Empire Taxi" will be approximately $10,000 less to purchase than a converted "Taxi of Tomorrow".

The new "MV-1 Empire Taxi" will have a special pricing of approximately $33,000.

The TLC is offering drivers a $14,000 grant toward the purchase of an MV-1, or any other wheelchair accessible vehicle, bringing the net price of the "MV-1 Empire Taxi" to only $19,000. The TLC is also offering additional incentives to the drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles, including a 50 cent per pick up payment to the driver.

Under Mobility Ventures' "MV-1 Empire Taxi" program, for the first 25 drivers who purchase the vehicle, the company will match the TLC's 50 cents for every pick up in an MV-1. Drivers are eligible for $7800.00 in annual payments from the combined program for driving an "MV-1 Empire Taxi" based on an expected 150 rides per week.

"The unmatched safety, reliability and ease of use of the 'MV-1 Empire Taxi', combined with this new incentive program, makes it the best choice for taxi drivers and fleet owners now making the switch to a wheelchair accessible vehicle," said Pat Kemp, Executive Vice President, Mobility Ventures.

"We welcome and appreciate all efforts by the private sector to support greater accessibility in New York City's taxi fleet," said the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Mobility Ventures recently partnered with the DC Taxi Commission (DCTC) to offer a similar incentive program in order to expand accessibility in the DCTC's taxi fleets. Late last year, Mobility Ventures delivered 14 new MV-1 wheelchair accessible taxis as part of a grant initiative that also offered vehicle operation training, free of charge.

What Makes the "MV-1 Empire Taxi" Unique
- Accessibility: The MV-1 is the only purpose built wheelchair accessible vehicle. The MV-1 redefines accessible transportation with a built-in side-entry power ramp, ample head room, and seating for up to five which includes the ability to safely accommodate two wheelchair users at a time—one of whom rides in the front and the other in the spacious passenger area —making it the perfect solution for consumers, commercial use, and government fleets.
- Safety comes first. The MV-1 safety record is unmatched by any wheelchair accessible vehicle, based on federal NHTSA safety recall data for aftermarket conversion vans. Additionally, the MV-1 meets all Buy America requirements.
- Durability: As the only Original Equipment Manufactured wheelchair accessible taxi on the market, the MV-1 is tough enough for New York City streets. With a maintenance cost below $1500.00 per 100,000 miles, it's the most cost effective too.
Information about the MV-1 family of accessible vehicles can easily be found on our new website at www.mv-1.us .The site includes useful information on building/customizing your own MV-1, vehicle specifications, a downloadable brochure, vehicle photos and the nationwide dealer network locations. Also, please click the hyperlinks below for informative MV-1 customer testimonials.

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