New York is saying goodbye to the venerable Ford Crown Victoria taxi and hello to the … Karsan?
Well, maybe the Karsan. Or a Nissan of some kind. Or maybe another Ford. Whatever the case, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been pushing for a replacement for the Crown Vic, which is being phased out in favor of a more efficient and wheelchair-accessible hack. This being New York, the city wanted something iconic. Something cool. Something it can call the “Taxi Of Tomorrow.”
So the Taxi and Limousine Commission launched a contest to get feedback from city residents and taxi manufacturers. The winner gets an exclusive contract to provide taxis for 10 years. A finalist will be picked early next year and hit the streets of Gotham by 2014.
“The yellow cab is one of the most iconic symbols of New York City,” Hizzoner said, according to Reuters. “Taxis have been an important part of our mass transit system and we are going to create a new taxi for our city that is safer, greener, and more comfortable than the ones we have today.”
Whatever vehicle gets the nod, it will be a minivan with loads of head room, big windows and loads of space.
Nissan’s proposed vehicle riffs on its NV200 van; it gets bonus points in our book because Nissan may develop an electric version. Ford has offered its Euro-cool Transit Connect van — which also is available with an extension cord — slathered in yellow paint.
But by far the most interesting submission comes from Turkey. We haven’t seen so intriguing a taxi since Arnold Schwarzenegger took a ride in Johnny Cab. The Karsan V1 looks like the smallest of the three candidates, but it’s got an interesting four passenger configuration where one passenger faces the others. It’s also got a glass roof and a built-in wheelchair ramp.
“Each is promising, but none is perfect,” Bloomberg told The New York Times. “We are not obliged to go with anything if it does not meet our needs.”
Styling aside, versatility and durability will be key considerations in choosing the Taxi of Tomorrow. The new cabs will be added to the fleet as older models are retired. New York has more than 13,000 cabs, and the fleet is comprises of 16 models from nine manufacturers.
Regardless of what vehicle is named the Taxi Of Tomorrow, the means of choosing it was groundbreaking — for a transportation project, anyway. By utilizing social media and other outreach methods, the Taxi Of Tomorrow invited public participation in a way few transportation projects ever have.
Got an opinion? Voice it on the online Taxi of Tomorrow survey. You might even win free cab rides for a year.
Main photo: Edgar Zuniga Jr. / Flickr. All others: New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission
The Karsan V1.
Ford’s all-purpose Transit Connect commercial van, done up as a taxi.
Nissan’s entry, based on the NV200.
Via Wired Autopia: http://www.wired.com/autopia/