Community advocates, taxi owners and VPG representatives made a joint presentation yesterday to the TLC prior to its unanimous approval of the MV-1 to operate in the city as a taxicab. This is the first time since the fabled “Checker Cab” that a purpose-built vehicle has been approved for operation.
The approval allows the owners of the more than 13,000 taxis currently operating in the city to begin replacing their vehicles with the fully accessible MV-1, allowing them to not only provide a better quality of comfort and safety to customers but make it possible for New York residents and visitors with disabilities to more easily get around the city.
“This is a great day for accessible transportation for the disabled,” said VPG Chairman Fred Drasner. “We have spent five years developing what we believe will be the best vehicle ever put into taxi service for all New Yorkers – especially those with disabilities. I am confident that the MV-1 will soon be regarded with the fondness reserved for the iconic Checker Cab of the bygone era in New York City.”
The MV-1 is built from the ground up to address the needs of over 14 million Americans who must use wheelchairs, crutches, canes, walkers or other mobility devices. Routine activities such as traveling in a vehicle present a significant obstacle in their daily lives. Proudly assembled in the USA, the MV-1 is not a converted van or other aftermarket product. Unlike such aftermarket or converted products, the MV-1, carries a factory warranty and has passed all relevant Federal safety and crash test requirements.
The MV-1 is also the only ADA compliant vehicle with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) engineered and assembled Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel system option. Since the system is factory installed, the MV-1 with the CNG option meets all government safety and crash test requirements and maintains the same durability, reliability and quality as the gasoline-powered vehicle. Fleet operators and consumers can reduce expenses by utilizing the less expensive CNG fuel.
“Compared to the city’s more than 8,000 gasoline-powered taxis, the MV-1 virtually eliminates the lung-choking particulate (soot) emissions and cuts nitrogen oxide emissions by 60-to-80 percent,” said Joanna D. Underwood, president of New York City-based Energy Vision, a national environmental organization that promotes sustainable transportation. “A fleet of MV-1’s will reduce the city’s dependence on foreign oil by five million gallons a year and will reap fuel cost savings of $5 million.”
The MV-1 features a 56-inch high by 36-inch wide side door opening for easy wheelchair or scooter entry and exit via a wide deployable ramp with an accommodating 1200-pound weight capacity that quickly and easily stores within the floor inside the vehicle. The vehicle’s ramp is available in either a manual or powered version. The MV-1 can accommodate a passenger in a wheelchair and another five occupants, when equipped with an optional rear facing jump seat.