The Nissan NV200 will have a rooftop view and a phone-charging station, but is not wheelchair accessible
The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission gave a green light Thursday morning to controversial “Taxi of Tomorrow.”
In a 5-2 vote, the TLC, as expected, adopted rules mandating all but a small percentage of cabs now on the road be replaced with Nissan NV200s.
The model, designed with much input from TLC staffers, will include a charging station for electronic gadgets, a retractable step for easier boarding and exiting, and a see-through roof panel for an upward view of the city.
“I think this is a huge leap forward in terms of passenger experience,” commission Chairman David Yassky said.
But the NV200 is not wheelchair accessible and will not be manufactured in the United States — sticking points critics view as two major shortcomings.
“When you talk about tomorrow…tomorrow should include people with mobility impairments,” United Spinal Association Senior Vice President James Weisman said.
“We are all aging and we’re going to live longer than any generation that’s ever preceded us, and work longer than any generation that’s ever preceded us. We need an accessible environment.”
TLC officials say there are more than 200 wheelchair accessible taxis already that can be dispatched to the disabled upon request, and they are working to add another 2,000 to the mix.
That expansion plan, however, has been stalled due to a lawsuit filed by fleet owners because a provision would allow livery-car drivers to pick up street hails in northern Manhattan and the other boroughs, excluding airports.
The owners of the 13,237 cabs that now comprise the yellow fleet will have to be replaced with NV200s when their current taxis are retired, under a long-standing replacement schedule set by the TLC to ensure cabbies don’t operate clunkers.
The phase-in is expected to begin next fall and take about five years.
The TLC has exempted 1,000 owners from the rules adopted Thursday, including hundreds who purchased medallions requiring they operate hybrid or handicapped-accessible vehicles.
By Pete Donohue / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS