Opponents Call Fleet Less Environmentally Friendly

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new fleet of yellow cabs got the green light to hit the road, after a majority of Taxi and Limousine Commissioners approved the new taxis.

Nissan will be making the new cabs. New Yorkers will start seeing the new fleet of 25-mile-per-gallon, $29,000 Nissan NV200 minivans next year.

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WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports

Nissan won a 10-year contract to build the Taxi of Tomorrow, beating out other prototypes in a contest in 2011.

“It’s roomier, it’s got all kinds of amenities from charging ports to reading lights to a panoramic roof so you can enjoy the skyline,” TLC Commissioner David Yassky told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.

Yassky also said down the road, Nissan will roll out electric cars as part of the fleet.

“When it’s fully phased in, the fleet will be significantly more fuel-efficient than it is today. An average of 28 miles per gallon up from today’s 24,” Yassky told Miller.

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But there have been some vocal opponents of the new taxis, who criticized approval of the new fleet.

“6,000 cars are green. We’re going to have to take them off the road to put these cars, which are an old-fashioned combustion engine on,” Ethan Gerber of the Greater New York Taxi Association told Miller. “It’s bad for the owners who are going to have only one choice, it’s bad for environmentalists who care about clean air, it’s bad for the disabled community who are going to be forced to have this one car that they don’t even like.”

Last week, Yassky announced a new wheelchair-accessible taxi service that gives wheelchair-bound people several ways to request a specially designed cab.

People in wheelchairs can now call, use a smartphone app, text or go online to request a wheelchair-accessible cab at no extra cost.

But that move was too little, too late, said city comptroller John Liu.

“The failure to make the entire fleet wheelchair-accessible is a wrong-headed decision that should concern all New Yorkers, not just the current 60,000 wheelchair-users in our City,” Liu said in a statement. “People can become disabled at any point in their life. Perhaps if the Mayor required the use of a wheelchair he would see this issue differently.”

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What do you think of the Taxi of Tomorrow? Do you like the new cab design or would you have like to seen different features? Sound off in our comments section below…