Not that we didn't know it was going to be. If you've been following this story (or listening to me crab about this for the past year or so), you'll know that the decision was made quite some time ago. But on September 20th the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission officially voted in the Nissan vehicle as the "Taxi of Tomorrow".
It's a baffling move. One of the other three competitors in the "Taxi of Tomorrow" competition, the Karsan V1, is fully accessible and ADA-approved. Heck, the fully accessible MV-1, manufactured by Vehicle Production group, while not a competitor for "Taxi of Tomorrow", has been on the road in New York for months. Both are side-entry, which is safer for passengers in wheelchairs, and have ample room for other passengers when transporting a passenger in a wheelchair.
Contrast with the NV-2000:
- A conversion van. It needs to be chopped up and reassembled, at considerable extra cost, to be made wheelchair accessible.
- Has room for only one other person in the passenger area when transporting a passenger in a wheelchair.
Need more convincing? The NV-2000:
- Wasn't tested on New York streets before being declared the "Taxi of Tomorrow"
- Is assembled in Mexico, taking jobs out of the US
- Has poorer gas mileage than the 6000 hybrid cabs currently operating in NYC that it will replace, as it runs on a combustion engine
What is Michael Bloomberg thinking?
People Who Use Wheelchairs Not a Factor in "Taxi of Tomorrow" Decision
Obviously he's not thinking about the people in his city with disabilities. He's made that very clear, by his steadfast refusal to make more than 2% of New York's cabs accessible until he was required to by the ruling of Supreme Court Justice George Daniels, and by his assistance on appealing that ruling. His ignorance about the realities of living with a disability, reflected in statements such as "It's always somebody who says, 'oh, no, everything has to be handicapped accessible or wheelchair accessible,' but that's not necessarily when the people who are in wheelchairs need" is astounding. It's difficult to imagine why he thinks that people who use wheelchairs would be satisfied with using the ailing Access-a-Ride program, with its long wait times and frequent no-shows, to plan their travel needs, as opposed to being able to hail a cab on the street like people who can walk. Mayor Bloomberg is conveniently ignoring the fact that the cab fleet in London, England, has been totally accessible for over 20 years.
It's also difficult to imagine why a mayor who claimed, just in his radio broadcast from this past weekend, that job creation is a priority for his administration, would fail to consider that he could potentially get more people who use wheelchairs into jobs if he gave them access to reliable transportation. I wonder if he's considered the other benefits for the city that come from giving people who use wheelchairs more transportation options: more community involvement and more opportunities to contribute to the city's economy, from both residents and visitors.
Not to mention, if he'd gone with the V1 as "Taxi of Tomorrow", Karsan was willing to manufacture it in Brooklyn. Not out of the country.
But I've said all this before.
I think that the bottom line is that Michael Bloomberg knows very little about the lives of people with disabilities and doesn't really care to learn. He's dismissed that part of his voter base and the people that compose it - their needs, their dreams of being treated as equal to their non-disabled peers, their very civil rights - since the beginning of all this.
But then, Nissan did create a new shade of yellow especially for the "Taxi of Tomorrow". Maybe I just need to get my priorities straight.
More on this story: http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-09-20/news/33982803_1_nissan-cab-cab-driver-new-taxi