Despite a recent ruling by New York State Supreme Court Judge Shlomo Hagler voiding Nissan Motor Co.'s exclusive taxi fleet provision contract with New York City, the sale of the carmaker's NV200 taxi version will still proceed, with some modifications. While the ruling means that the other taxi cabs will continue to ply the streets of the city, it does not mean that Nissan cannot sell its NV200 van to individuals and fleet owners who opted to acquire them.
Queens-based Nissan dealer Howard Koeppel told Bloomberg News that they have already received their allocation of the NV200 van and have sold five units to individual operators. He said that the Nissan taxis are "good cars."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, under his Taxi of Tomorrow initiative, envisions a uniform fleet of van-like yellow cabs with sliding doors and skylight windows. The city, through the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, has awarded the Japanese carmaker the contract to exclusively provide all taxis for the next 10 years.
Hagler recently ruled that the commission exceeded its authority in awarding the exclusive contract and in requiring cab operators to acquire the NV200 van for their taxi fleet.
The Bloomberg administration needs to win an appeal before Dec. 31, 2013 -- the last day of the mayor in office -- to ensure that the initiative to standardize a fleet of 15,237 cabs with the NV200 will remain in force.
The NV200 will start hitting the roads on Oct. 28. Taxi and Limousine Commission Chairman David Yassky remarked that the NV200 was chosen because it is, by far, the "safest taxicab ever designed." He also noted that the NV200 offers superior leg room, a panoramic roof and a host of other comforts and amenities.
A fully equipped NV200 carries a tag of $29,700. Bhairavi Desai, spokeswoman and organizer of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, lauds the Taxi of Tomorrow initiative, saying that the program allows them to use their "collective purchasing power to lower the sales costs and have an unprecedented 150,000-mile warranty."