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If it weren't for the somewhat obsessive and frankly narrow-minded love by taxi drivers and police officers for the body-on-frame Ford Crown Victoria, we'd imagine the old Panther platform would have been put out to pasture a very long time ago. As it stands, though, New York cabbies especially seem hell-bent on keeping it around on life support as long as possible.

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If it weren't for the somewhat obsessive and frankly narrow-minded love by taxi drivers and police officers for the body-on-frame Ford Crown Victoria, we'd imagine the old Panther platform would have been put out to pasture a very long time ago. As it stands, though, New York cabbies especially seem hell-bent on keeping it around on life support as long as possible.

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Click on the image above for a gallery of MetroKing's new taxi

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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

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It's time to say adios to the classic yellow Ford Crown Vic. In May 2007, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to transform the city's ubiquitous yellow cab fleet from the old school Ford Crown Victorias to all hybrids. For the past couple of years, a variety of hybrid vehicles have been gradually infiltrating the fleet and generally performing well. Ford Escape hybrids have become a common site on the streets of Manhattan. Under the new rules, starting this October all new cabs comi

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I was in Manhattan for a couple of days this week on a press event and noticed a new addition to the local cab fleet. For years now, the classic Crown Vics have been getting supplemented by Toyota Siennas, Ford Escape hybrids and the odd Prius. While cabbies love the mileage they get with the Prius and Escape, the passengers aren't always so thrilled with the volume available in the back seat. This is where the Nissan Altima hybrid comes in. The Altima has a roomier back seat than the other two

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It took time but as AutoblogGreen readers remember, in May, the City announced that the transition to hybrid taxicabs would begin and by 2012, New York will have an all-hybrid taxi fleet. Since drivers have to pay for fuel, they won't complain. New York is an ideal place for a vehicle that operates best in stop-go traffic. There are more hybrid choices now: Toyotas, Hondas, Fords, Saturns. Technicians will need retraining but they can handle it.

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It's not like there has been a lack of news about New York's hybrid taxis recently (see links below), but I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of it now: Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced today that all of city's yellow taxi will be switching over to hybrid models within five years. The AP notes that Bloomberg is most concerned with the environmental aspect of the move. "There's an awful lot of taxicabs on the streets of New York City," Bloomberg told the AP. "These cars just sit there in

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