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Judge: Taxi of Tomorrow Is Legal

Appeals court overturns a decision that had blocked the implementation of a one-vehicle taxi fleet

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 01:39 PM

Taxi of Tomorrow is displayed at the New York International Auto Show. (Kate Hinds/WNYC)

An appeals court ruled that the city's plan to have a fleet composed entirely of Nissan vans can move forward.

The court called the Taxi of Tomorrow "a legally appropriate response to the agency's statutory obligation to produce a 21st century taxicab consistent with the broad interests and perspectives that the agency is charged with protecting."

That overturns a 2013 decision, which said the Taxi and Limousine Commission overstepped its legal authority in requiring fleet owners to purchase one specific vehicle.

The Taxi of Tomorrow program was developed during the Bloomberg administration, and Nissan was chosen in 2011. Fleet operators sued the city to block its implementation.

But whether or not it will move forward in its original form is unclear. TLC commissioner Meera Joshi said: “We are still reviewing the ruling and its implications, especially in view of the potential for further appeal. Certainly, we are gratified by this latest decision upholding the TLC’s regulatory authority.”

The Greater New York Taxi Association, which brought the suit, said it had not decided whether to appeal. But Ethan Gerber, the group's executive director, said "with today’s ruling on the Taxi of Tomorrow, what remains is a van which is not ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] complaint. Fleet owners are now in the uncomfortable position of having to violate either local or federal law.” 

Under recent TLC rules, a 30-cent per ride surcharge will be added to the meter beginning in 2015. The money will support a taxi improvement fund aimed at making the fleet more wheelchair-accessible.

Read the court's decision here.

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Comments [5]

Herbgee

The selected single-model directive smells out loud. No competition means the possibility exists for leveraged profit for the single supplier at
city expense, and eventually higher fares. Also, Paul B has many good criticisms.

Jun. 11 2014 06:04 PM
JOSEPH P. WALL from PELHAM BAY, BRONX

The new taxi of tomorrow reminds me a little bit of the old checkard cabs that used to be on the streets of New York, many many years ago and, when those checkard cabs were on the streets of New York picking up taxi passengers, you did not have all these problems back then.

Jun. 11 2014 12:46 PM

The new administration "still reviewing the ruling and its implications, especially in view of the potential for further appeal."
Why should the present administration forego its own opportunity to solicit favors in return for a new cab requirement?
The TLC is "gratified by this latest decision upholding the TLC’s regulatory authority"

Jun. 11 2014 11:10 AM

If the City of NY can't force Taxi owners to buy specified cabs, don't City officials lose a big opportunity to receive bribes, kickbacks, or campaign contributions by competing suppliers?

Jun. 11 2014 11:03 AM
Paul Blank from Northern NJ

It is so strange that this ruling came down this way, and for the following reasons:

It is not good that there be single supplier for one product. It is anti-competitive, and begs the question: what happens if there is a shortage of a critical part or parts? And what about price-gouging by that single-supplier? Also, it stifles innovation. In a few years, this futuristic design will probably look like a fleet of old Checker cabs that appear to never change. It's almost always good business that there be at least two, and hopefully more, competing similar products in a given market.

And if the cab is not ADA compliant, that's just plain wrong.

The city should instead have a set of mandatory specifications for the "Taxi of the Future", such that that ANY manufacturer willing to comply can have a taxi on NYC streets.

One can hope that the new administration use some common sense regarding this issue. The old one simply got this wrong.

Jun. 11 2014 07:37 AM

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