Could the Nissan NV200 be the New York Cab of Tomorrow?

Those who use New York cabs as part of their everyday life, may be interested to know that between the 1st-5th November 2011, the ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ Design Expo will open its doors to the public and is described by officials as a quest for the new iconic yellow cab.

David Yassky, Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Chairman and Mayor Bloomberg announced in May that they had picked the Nissan NV200 to be the cab of the future. In a few years, the NV200 will be the only vehicle that cab owners can purchase and cover with commercial taxi insurance when retiring and replacing old taxis.

The NV200 minivan cab will have a see through roof for vertical sightseeing, an air-filtering system, passenger reading lights, backseat airbags, and charging stations with one regular outlet and two USB ports.

There’s a huge rear compartment space to carry tourist’s luggage and extra leg room for the cabbie. Passengers will also be treated to anti-bacterial, non-stick seats.

There is a downside to the NV200 though, as they won’t have the configuration or ramps to accommodate wheelchair users. Currently, there are 13,237 yellow cabs and out of those, only 231 are wheelchair accessible.

Two groups, the Disability Rights Advocates and the United Spinal Association, in January, filed a lawsuit claiming that the city is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not requiring all cabs to be accessible for wheelchairs.

However, Yassky was dismissive about the claims. Federal prosecutors, however, filed court papers detailing why they agree with that the city is violating the civil rights law.

There’s a hoping that the city’s lawyers lose and that the TLC could be ordered to start converting to a fleet that is accessible to all.

Currently, many disabled people are using MTA’s Access-A-Ride programme which is a service that this year will consume $440 million so a wheelchair-accessible fleet could be very welcomed.

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