Versatile Cabs to Start Hitting Streets in Late Summer
New York City officials named Ford Transit Connect a taxi of today this morning, green-lighting the nimble, fuel-efficient Electric vehicle for use in the Big Apple.
The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) approved the Ford Transit Connect Taxi for use at a regularly scheduled public hearing today. New York joins Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia on the list of big cities where officials have approved Transit Connect Taxi for use.
Transit Connects already are in service throughout the country. With today’s approval, more purpose-built taxis are on their way to the nation’s largest city to meet the demand expected among taxi owners.
“For decades, Ford has been synonymous with New York City taxis, and we are pleased residents and tourists now will benefit from our next-generation vehicle,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “We have Transit Connect Taxis in service across the country, and people tell us they love its spaciousness and its fuel efficiency.”
Approval means the Ford Transit Connect Taxi has met the specifications set forth by the TLC. The Ford Taurus also was approved for use. The commission is responsible for regulation and licensing of all taxis in the city and is recognized as the largest and most active taxi and limousine regulatory body in the United States.
The approval in New York comes less than a month after the compressed natural gas (CNG) version of the Transit Connect Taxi was approved by the California Air Resources Board for use in California.
“Approval from the TLC is significant because it allows Ford the opportunity to offer New York City taxi operators and the riding public a taxi that is comfortable, durable, provides excellent fuel efficiency and delivers it all in a much smaller footprint that helps with congestion,” said Kevin Koswick, director, Ford North American Fleet Operations.
The open architecture of the Transit Connect Taxi provides excellent interior headroom and passenger visibility.
With 6.5 inches of ground clearance, passengers step easily through the sliding doors. The rear door opening is 50.2 inches wide at the floor and has a height of 52.1 inches.
The Transit Connect Taxi is certified to Ford Light Commercial Vehicle Durability Standards, while suspension components and the underbody structure have passed requirements for potholes and curbs. The 39-foot turning diameter makes it easier to handle tight spots.
With its standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine and automatic transmission, the conventionally powered Transit Connect delivers a best-in-class 23 mpg combined, an estimated 30 percent improvement in fuel efficiency versus many of today’s traditional taxis. Ford also offers engine prep packages that allow conversions to CNG and LPG (liquefied propane gas).
The first Transit Connect Taxi was delivered last December to a taxicab company in Boston. Since then, more than 100 have been sold to companies in Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, St. Louis and Orlando, Fla., to name a few.
“We applaud TLC Commissioner David Yassky and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission for approving the only next-generation purpose-built taxicab currently available on the market, the highly reviewed and eagerly anticipated Ford Transit Connect Taxi,” said Ron Sherman, president, Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade.
“This provides our 35 fleets with the opportunity to transition from one purpose-built commercial taxicab – the Crown Victoria – to the Transit Connect as early as this fall,” he added. “Ford has been a great partner with the New York City taxi industry for decades, and this vehicle represents its commitment to the future of the taxi industry throughout the country.”
Robert Gaye, CEO, Orlando-based Transtar Transportation Group, said he made the decision to add Transit Connect Taxis to his fleet earlier this year. The Transit Connect Taxis he bought service Orlando International Airport and the surrounding central Florida area under the Star Taxi name.
Gaye said that passengers and drivers are responding positively, praising the look of the vehicle, the fuel efficiency and the comfort level among other things.
“The response has been tremendous,” said Gaye. “People will wait at taxi stands specifically for a Transit Connect Taxi. They just love them. I’ve had nothing but great reviews from both passengers and drivers.”