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Hart Bus

Age: 69
Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 1126

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fur coat and the dame inside it aren't bad looking either Very Happy
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee

Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'City's Next Taxi: A Nissan Van Short on Looks, Perhaps, but Full of Comforts'

Published: May 3, 2011 The New York Times

The next New York City taxicab will have airplane-style reading lights, passenger air bags, and a so-called low-annoyance horn, engineered to stifle flagrant honkers. The back seat even has more leg room than the old couch-on-wheels Checker cab.

The Nissan NV200, which was selected by New York City to be the next generation of its yellow cabs.

Nissan America's chairman, Carlos Tavares, spoke after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg about the winning taxi entry.

But can a minivan win over New York?

The Nissan NV200, a bulky four-door van that seems more soccer mom than Travis Bickle, will become the all-but-exclusive vehicle of the city's taxi fleet, the Bloomberg administration said on Tuesday, in the culmination of a contest of several years to redesign a city icon.

The minivan has a traditional, unstylish look, which even Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg conceded resembles a family car. Asked on Tuesday if the car had a suburban feel, the mayor smiled and replied, That's probably true.

But the interior features, designed specifically for New York taxi use, promise comforts geared toward a more urban creature: power outlets to plug in phones and laptops; a transparent roof for city views; exterior lights that warn cyclists and pedestrians about opening doors; and custom climate controls for each seat.

Even honking, that great urban scourge, could be on the way out. Besides the low-intensity horn, the entire cab will be illuminated, outside and in, whenever its horn sounds, the better to help police track down noisy cabbies.

The first batch of the vans - a customized version of the ones now sold in Asia and Europe - is expected to appear by the end of 2013. Cab owners will be required to buy the Nissan vans when their existing vehicles are due for replacement.

By the end of the decade, almost every yellow cab in the city - there are currently about 13,000 - is expected to be a Nissan, the first time a foreign manufacturer has dominated the taxi fleet since the original red French Darracq cabs arrived in 1907.

The city announced its Taxi of Tomorrow competition in 2007 as a way to create a taxi better suited to its passengers. The prize: an exclusive 10-year contract worth an estimated $1 billion in sales.

The Nissan model, which will be built in Mexico and eventually be capable of running on an electric-only engine, beat out contenders from Karsan, a Turkish company that submitted a stylish, high-concept design, and Ford, maker of the fleet's current mainstay, the macho Crown Victoria, which Ford plans to discontinue this year.

There were grumblings about the city's selection even before the official announcement. Advocates for the disabled lamented the Nissan's lack of options for wheelchair users, while supporters of Karsan, which pledged to build its cabs in Brooklyn, said the city had ignored a chance to invest in the local economy.

A spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg said that the holders of medallions for cabs intended for the disabled would still be allowed to buy specially designed cabs fitted for wheelchairs.

In a letter, the public advocate, Bill de Blasio, asked the city comptroller, John C. Liu, to review the taxi competition for potential conflicts of interest. And Micah Z. Kellner, a state assemblyman who co-signed the letter, has filed a complaint with the Justice Department to see whether the city's choice violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Who knew that the Taxi of Tomorrow was the delivery van of yesterday? Mr. Kellner wrote in a statement. Just because you paint a van yellow doesn't make it a taxi.

But Mr. Bloomberg, at a news conference on Tuesday announcing the selection, called Nissan's bid far and away the best, and said the city chose the manufacturer that could provide the most reliable vehicle that meets our city's very peculiar needs.

The mayor added that he was skeptical about the feasibility of Karsan's proposal for a Brooklyn taxi factory. I don't think between now and two years from now we could site a new school, much less a new industrial plant, Mr. Bloomberg said.

The custom version of the Nissan van has not yet been built, but company representatives said they expected to present a prototype in the next few months. The van holds a maximum of four passengers three in the back and one in the front.

Its seats are coated to resist stains and bacteria, and the floors are equipped with lights to ease the recovery of purses and briefcases on a late-night ride. The charging station includes a regular outlet and two USB ports. Sliding doors will prevent dooring of cyclists and passing cars.

The Nissan could be a throwback to the earlier days, when passenger-controlled radios came standard in spacious cabs like the DeSoto Skyview.

Until the 1970s, cabs weren't bad, said Graham Hodges, a taxi historian and former cabby. They were good and roomy cars; they would fit five people easily. People didn't complain about them being nasty and unpleasant.

The city appears to be aiming for that earlier era. Cabs today do not inspire the same type of affection and customer loyalty that the Checker did, David S. Yassky, the chairman of the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission, said on Tuesday. The goal in this process was to get us a taxi that people will talk about 20 years from now the way they talk about the Checker today.

So can a Nissan van attract a similar cult? Mr. Bloomberg, asked about the romance of the taxicab at the news conference, turned to look at an image of the van projected on a large screen.

Looks romantic to me, the mayor said, with a what can you do? tone, as the room erupted in laughter.

Photo via Associated Press

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York

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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee

Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'For Elite Club of Cabbies, Only a Lexus Will Suffice!'

Published: May 16, 2011 The New York Times

When they see each other on the streets of New York, they often honk, wave, flash their lights and sometimes even stop to trade maintenance advice. The camaraderie is owed to a shared experience: each drives a Lexus as a New York City taxi.

In a city teeming with more than 13,000 yellow taxicabs, more than half of them Ford Crown Victorias, there are exactly six cab-ready Lexus hybrids, either the RX 400h or RX 450h, driven by cabbies who paid more than $40,000 for the privilege. The Crown Victoria costs about $28,000.

Does driving a Lexus taxi mean more money in fares and tips? No, at least not measurably. But cachet? Most definitely.

A cab driver is dying for individuality, said Neil Newmark, a 30-year veteran taxi driver who has been driving his Lexus for two years and who says that some independent taxi drivers try to distinguish themselves through bumper stickers. (He does not have any.) I sort of feel like a celebrity.

But their celebrity status may be coming to an end. The Taxi and Limousine Commission recently passed regulations removing the Lexus from the approved taxicab list, arguing the cars are too powerful. In the coming years, the city will be stripping the streets of nearly all taxicab variety, as most new vehicles will be the Nissan NV200 van, the newly approved Taxi of Tomorrow.

To the Lexus cabbies, that makes little sense. They say their cars have fewer maintenance hassles and offer more comfortable rides - an attribute not to be underestimated in coping with bone-jarring potholes and sitting in Sisyphean traffic. They have seen and experienced how driving more traditional taxis can damage knees, legs and possibly even the heart. Cliff Adler, 62, worries about his heart. Mr. Newmark, 56, says he drives a Lexus because it helps him manage the pain from his aching knee.

Some drivers wonder if the Taxi and Limousine Commission might allow their Lexuses to be grandfathered into the program so that they can keep buying new ones even when the Taxi of Tomorrow comes out.

If I'm willing to spend the money on a Lexus, why won't they let me? Mr. Newmark said.

Allan J. Fromberg, a spokesman for the Taxi and Limousine Commission, declined to address the issue.

The cars have all been slightly modified for taxi use: a coat of distinctive yellow paint, roof lights, a taximeter, a camera and a television screen are all required. Only one driver chose to have a partition installed between the front and rear seats.

Mr. Adler, a 36-year veteran taxi driver, was the first to buy a Lexus taxi. He inquired about buying one in 2006, when he heard that a taxi fleet was testing a Lexus. While the fleet did not adopt the Lexus, Mr. Adler encouraged his friend and fellow taxi driver, Samuel Pekoh, 56, to visit Lexus of Manhattan with him and see if they could negotiate a deal. They each received a $3,000 discount and the promise that the dealership would give them preference when they came in with maintenance problems.

Soon, contemporaries of Mr. Adler's and Mr. Pekoh's spotted them on the street and became envious. Sushil Maggoo coveted Mr. Adler's Lexus before he bought his own in 2008, driving it with one leg (he was born without a right leg).

While Mr. Maggoo said he did not make more money driving a Lexus compared with the Crown Victorias he once drove, he said more than a dozen customers regularly called to ask him to drive them to the airport. He added that his daughter has grown fond of being dropped off at school in a Lexus.

After Mr. Newmark bought his Lexus in May 2009, Shmuel Poper followed. Mr. Poper said customers like the Lexus so much that they sometimes tipped him 50 to 100 percent of the fare and asked to take photographs of him and his car.

The last driver to join this Lexus club was Ilya Atanelov, 62, who traded in his Crown Victoria for a $51,000 Lexus last year. He says he loves how children enthusiastically climb into his taxi after school and call their classmates to boast they are driving home in a Lexus.

All six drivers are fiercely protective of their taxis. Mr. Adler does not let customers put their bags on his leather seats. Mr. Atanelov held his hand to his heart when he described customers slamming his car doors. The Lexus cabbies all also do without the extra income that comes from leasing their cars out to other taxi drivers, for fear that others might not care for them as well as they do.

Taxis must be retired after a prescribed amount of time anywhere from three to seven years, depending on the type of vehicle. The Lexus hybrids have a life span of six years, so Mr. Adler will be the first to have to take his car off the road next year. Mr. Atanelov, the last driver with a Lexus, said he planned to retire when he has to take his Lexus off the road.

For now, they relish the little fame that comes with being part of this inner circle of luxury taxicab drivers. Mr. Atanelov said he sometimes runs into other Lexus drivers at an airport taxi line. There, they trade the club gossip they enjoy most, he said, recalling, We talk about the cars and how people are impressed with us.

Photo by Todd Heisler for the Times.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York

Five of the six cabbies who drive Lexuses in New York are, from left, Cliff Adler, Sushill Maggoo, Neil Newmark, Ilya Atanelov and Samuel Pekoh.
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Age: 76
Joined: 19 Apr 2011
Posts: 516
Location: Lebanon, PA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I work as a part time dispatcher for Yellow Cab of Lebanon, PA.
While this car never was a taxi, our owner, who also has a custom car business, found a rusted out 1930 Chevy. This is the year our company was founded, so he decided to make it a retro cab.
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee

Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Looks pretty good and not unrealistic because there were plenty of Chevy taxis in the early thirties.

And the Yellow Cab logo is a beautiful replica of the real livery.

Thanks for sharing.


Mr. 'L'
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee

Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Court Blocks City’s Plan for ‘Taxis of Tomorrow’

New York Times - October 9, 2013

If there is a heaven for iconic taxicabs, with a sneering Travis Bickle at the pearly gates, New York City is almost certainly its top feeder market.

The Checker cab is gone, fading from view in 1999 after more than 75 years in the city and a starring role alongside Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver.” The Ford Crown Victoria, once the spacious stalwart of the fleet, will soon follow, though many stragglers remain.

And the Bloomberg administration’s anointed successor — the boxy but lush “Taxi of Tomorrow,” a Nissan NV200 (seen below) — was halted on Tuesday by a State Supreme Court judge, who ruled that the city had exceeded its authority by compelling owners to buy the model in a bid to create a near-uniform fleet.

Now, for a city accustomed to slipping into the back seat of a signature cab — they have been rickety, perhaps, but always memorable — the fate of tomorrow’s taxis has become exceedingly muddled.

“For the first time in recent memory, most taxi owners and operators are confused as to what the new fleet is going to look like,” said Michael Woloz, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, which represents the operators of more than 5,000 yellow taxis. “There’s no car that I’m aware of that is positioned to take the reins as a dominant taxi.”

Maintaining the status quo appears unlikely. The most common cars in the current fleet, according to data from the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, are the Crown Victoria and a hybrid version of the roomy Ford Escape. Ford has said that both vehicles, which account for about 8,000 of the city’s more than 13,000 cabs, will no longer be manufactured.

But an analysis of recent industry data offers hints at what the streets might look like in the years to come. Since June 1, according to taxi commission records, a combination of smaller and relatively inexpensive hybrids, like the Camry and the Prius, both from Toyota, have made up more than 80 percent of the roughly 1,100 new taxis to enter the fleet.

“I don’t know how it feels in the back seat,” Richard Wissak, the vice president of 55 Stan Operating Corporation, a yellow cab company in Queens, said of the hybrids. “It doesn’t feel as good as the Crown Vic, or what this Nissan was supposed to be like.”

For better or worse, Mr. Wissak added, the Nissan resembled “a soccer mom’s car.”

The city has promoted the NV200’s large interior as a chief attraction, and will most likely continue to highlight its comforts, like transparent roof panels and ports for phone chargers, as it prepares to appeal Tuesday’s decision.

The Crown Victoria’s looming retirement was a major factor in pursuing a Taxi of Tomorrow in the first place, said David S. Yassky, the city’s taxi commissioner, adding that alternatives were “not great in terms of passenger service.”

Mr. Yassky expressed confidence that the city would win its appeal, but administration officials have acknowledged that reversing the decision will be difficult. The legal proceedings may not be resolved before Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg leaves office. Both the Democratic and Republican nominees to succeed him have opposed the Taxi of Tomorrow and are seen as unlikely to defend it in court.

Its demise could spawn a new chapter for hybrid cabs in the city. Though Mr. Yassky noted that the fleet had become 80 percent more fuel-efficient since 2001, Mr. Bloomberg had once hoped to convert nearly the entire taxi population to hybrids, before a federal judge blocked his plan in 2008. Now, an increasing share of the city’s cabs could soon be hybrids.

More fuel-efficient cars have proved particularly popular among many drivers, who are typically responsible for gas. “In the summer, I had the A.C. on almost 12 hours, and I still only did three or four gallons,” John McDonagh, who has driven for more than 30 years, said of the Ford C-Max Hybrid. “If I were in a Crown Victoria, it would have been 13, 14 gallons a day.”

The NV200, which was criticized for being neither a hybrid nor wheelchair accessible without modifications, could still become a local staple, even if owners are not required to buy it.

At a taxi line outside Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, waiting passengers almost universally called for larger back seats in the city’s cabs, narrating the travails playing out before them.

“There’s no room, absolutely no room,” said Larry McCoy, 76, as a woman slid out of a cab, knees at her chest, with a walking boot on one foot.

“She broke it in the cab,” Mr. McCoy guessed.

Another rider, Patricia Foulds, stood behind a group of tourists lugging large suitcases.

“Look at this,” she said, as a C-Max Hybrid pulled up beside them. “It could never accommodate these people.”

And yet, drivers said, each day passengers manage. The city will probably survive without a cab designed to their whims.

“People are in a hurry,” Mr. McDonagh said. “They suck it up for the five minutes they’re in a cab.”

Photo via Associated Press.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York

The boxy Nissan NV200, the city’s proposed signature cab.
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