Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
It's roomy...but also boxy. Those are some assessments of New Yorkers who got to check out the 'Taxi of Tomorrow," unveiled this week with much fanfare. The Nissan minivan has been chosen by city officials be the cab for the next decade, beginning next year as older cabs are retired.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked the tires with Nissan execs Tuesday night, as the press was treated to cocktails and hors d‘oeuvres while they inspected the vehicle.
But at the New York International Auto on Friday, potential passengers got to see for the first time the taxi that will shuttle them home in the wee hours or take them cross town when they’re late for a meeting for the next decade.
The NV200 model attracted a small crowd.
Myles Simmons from Manhattan looked closely at the prototype on display. He said he appreciated many of the next taxi’s features.
"I do like that there's leg room, I like that you have personal climate controls in the back, and that there's the USB ports where you can charge things," he said.
He did wonder why the minivan couldn’t fit wheelchairs.
Brooklyn’s Eddie Fernandez said part of the reason he came to the auto show was to look at the taxi. “I wanted to see exactly what it looked like up close before they put it on the street.”
Fernandez said the larger size will come in handy for New Yorkers who schlep around tons of stuff. “A lot of people have baby carriages, or luggage, they carry big bags around with I-Pads and all of their electronics, so I like that,” he said.
But others like Brooklyn's Orlando Vargas didn't approve of the boxy shape of the Nissan. Vargas would have preferred something sportier.
"This is just too cargo-y, just like a delivery van in a way, a yellow delivery van," he said.
The NV200 will retail for $29,700 when it goes on sale in 2013.
The brighter yellow cabs of the near future will be on display at the Javits Center until April 15.