Big Apple's Nissan taxis unveiled
AT LEAST THEY'RE STILL YELLOW...: The 'yellow cabs' of New York will still be yellow in 2013 - but they'll be built by a Japanese company.
Author: DEEPTI HAJELA
New York - New cabs hitting the streets of New York City in 2013 will have more leg room, a large skylight to show off the skyscrapers and even odour-reducing and anti-microbial fabric to help deal with, well, you know, anything you might smell in the back seat of a cab.
A prototype of the Nissan NV200 will be unveiled today (April 3, 2012). It was selected from three finalists in a city competition as the winner of a 10-year, billion-dollar contract.
PLENTY TO APPRECIATE
The cab, a boxy shape and painted a brighter yellow than the city's current taxis, offers a different experience for passengers - starting with a flat, hump-less floor that makes shifting from one side to the other a simple task.
City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said busy New Yorkers looking to get from A to B would find plenty to appreciate about the rides that get them there.
"New Yorkers are pragmatic but they also appreciate quality. This is a higher-quality taxi ride than they're getting today," he said
The doors slide, rather than swing, open so no more risk of hitting a passing bicycle messenger. Satnav will be standard and floor lights will help to find anything a passenger might have dropped.
Luggage can go in the back and the seats have reading lights.
WILL NISSAN LEAF BE NEXT?
The Nissan van, which beat proposals from Ford and Turkish automaker Karsan, will be phased in from October 2013 as current taxis age out of service. All current taxis, including the city's hybrid cabs, will be off the streets by 2018.
Nissan spokesman Steven Oldham said the company would undertake a pilot programme with the Nissan Leaf battery car to see if it would be feasible to make the taxis electric in coming years.
The vehicles will sell for about $29 000 (about R220 000).