New York City shops for next generation taxi at Detroit Auto Show

Click image for a gallery of the '07 Ford Escape Hybrid Taxi

As capable a taxi as the Ford Crown Vic has been for New York and other big cities, the big sedan is nearing the end of its run, and since it makes up the majority of NYC's taxi fleet, the Taxi and Limousine Commission is on the prowl, looking for a proper replacement. Ideally, they'd get a custom design that provides passenger space, ample cargo capacity, easy access for the disabled, reduced fuel consumption, and clean operation. Like London's iconic black cabs, the ideal NYC taxi would also have a unique, easily identifiable style.

You can't get something like that without help, however, so TLC chairman Matthew Daus headed to the Detroit Auto Show to begin lobbying automakers for a purpose-built NYC taxicab. The commission has enlisted the assistance of Ricardo to come up with a list of "dream cab" specifications that will be circulated among the various automakers. Whether any of them will step up and deliver an all-new taxi remains to be seen. A well-done fleet car like that would certainly have appeal in other major cities, too, so there would likely be buyers outside the Big Apple. We figured that the Escape Hybrid (above), which already has an established presence of its own in NYC's taxi fleet, would be a lock to replace the Crown Vic when the time comes. If no automakers go to bat for the TLC with a custom taxi, it still might. Ideally, however, we'd see a purpose-built cab that blends the utility of the Escape, the comfort of the Crown Vic, the green credentials of a modern hybrid, and the charm of a Checker Marathon. With jump seats, of course.

[Source: Automotive News-- sub. req'd]

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