Judge: Taxi of Tomorrow Is Legal

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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.