Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New model NYC yellow cabs built for wheelchair users can be purchased, Taxi & Limo Commission expected to say

From the NY Daily News:

Another new model of yellow cabs could hit city streets before the much ballyhooed "Taxi of the Future" arrives.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission is expected Sept. 15 to approve rule modifications paving the way for cabbies to buy the MV-1 (pictured), an American-made vehicle designed and being built with wheelchair users in mind.

The MV-1, which looks similar to the Chevy Tahoe, has extra-wide doors, a built-in ramp that extends to the sidewalk and space for a wheelchair to the right of the driver. In addition to a wheelchair user, the MV-1 can seat five other passengers.

"We're very excited about having another wheelchair-accessible option for taxi owners," TLC Chairman David Yassky said.

Only 230 of the city's fleet of more than 13,000 yellow cabs are wheelchair accessible. The majority are Toyota Sienna minivans. The rest are Dodge Caravans.

The city plans on boosting the number of accessible taxicabs to 800.

Overall, there currently are 19 different automobile models being used as yellow cabs. The dominant cab is the Crown Victoria, which Ford no longer producing.

The TLC last year picked Nissan to be exclusive manufacturer of all yellow cabs, beating out two competitors.

Nissan's NV200 cabs are expected to begin replacing other cab models when they are retired in 2013, a process that could take about five years. The NV200 is not wheelchair accessible.

The only models other than the NV200 that will be permitted for a decade will be handicapped accessible vehicles like the Sienna or MV-1.

The Vehicle Production Group's MV-1 is being manufactured in Michigan and assembled in Indiana.