At a time when it has become increasingly challenging to own or operate a taxi in New York City, all medallion owners and drivers should consider taking advantage of new rules that allow for more fuel efficient, high-quality vehicles to be used as yellow taxis.
The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) this month reversed rules requiring the use of the deeply flawed and unpopular Nissan NV200, known to some as the “Taxi of Tomorrow.” Now, drivers will be able to select from a variety of more than 30 different vehicles that can be used as yellow taxis – including the Toyota Camry hybrid.
The Committee for Taxi Safety has been working on this issue for years and played a central role in advancing the new driver-friendly rules – and we are pleased that owners and drivers across the industry will now have access to better, more reliable and more cost-effective vehicles.
As everyone in our industry knows, the Nissan NV200 has provided nothing but problems ever since it was rolled out. It is first and foremost a gas guzzler, leaving taxi drivers frustrated with unnecessarily high fuel costs even as drivers in other sectors have long enjoyed more efficient options. The NV200 also caused headaches with regard to the high costs of the all-too frequent maintenance required to deal with its poorly retrofitted accessibility components.
These concerns are part of the reason why expanding the list of allowable vehicles – particularly the Camry hybrid – has been such a priority for those, like CFTS, who fight for the interests of yellow taxi owners and drivers across the city. The Camry hybrid has become a ubiquitous presence on New York’s streets mainly because of its reliability and fuel efficiency – and now it will be part of the city’s iconic yellow taxi tradition.
Winning this rule change was important, but it is now equally important that fleet and medallion owners become aware of the new regulations so they and their drivers can take advantage of these additional vehicles and maximize their own cost savings. Other challenges facing the industry – whether they be the ongoing failure to regulate Uber or the unfair tactics advanced by the National Credit Union Administration – should not distract us from leveraging any new opportunities we have to move forward.
However, CFTS and other stakeholders will of course continue advocating for a fair and level playing field for the taxi industry– including our push for sensible restrictions on the number of ridesharing vehicles in New York City. These broader efforts are the only way to truly address the root causes of the challenges facing our industry – and we will keep pushing until those problems are solved and fairness is secured.
David L. Beier is the counsel and President to the Committee for Taxi Safety