Two Taxi Plans Face Stoplights
By Naomi Cohen The Nissan [Taxi of Tomorrow] will replace all New York City yellow cabs, including hybrids, due to regulations signed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Thursday. Despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg's 2007 plan for the ["largest, cleanest fleet of taxis anywhere on the planet"](http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aQGO8VgUVowA) by mandating hybrid taxis, the Nissan NV200 Taxi operates what would have been the [minimum fuel efficiency](http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/nyregion/01taxi.html?_r=1&ref=automobiles) for taxis. The model, which won a design competition last year, features higher safety standards, anti-microbial seats and USB charging access-but no wheelchair accessibility. Ethan B. Gerber, executive director of the Greater New York Taxi Association, said in a statement Thursday that he is "disappointed that ? the City has taken a giant step backwards when it comes to making our taxi fleet accessible and environmentally friendly. This is an irresponsible choice and I am outraged that the disabled community will continue to berelegated to second class status when it comes to getting around New York like everyone else." Disability rights groups filed a lawsuit, [supported by the U.S. Attorney](http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/nyregion/us-attorney-says-taxis-must-accommodate-wheelchairs.html), that the new cab violates their rights. Bloomberg's other taxi plan, which would allow street hailling in the outer boroughs, is also facing three lawsuits and a temporary [judicial injunction](http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2012/06/6007063/judge-deals-potentially-fatal-blow-bloombergs-borough-taxi-plan). Besides adding 18,000 new borough taxis-also not wheelchair-accessible-the city would auction off 2,000 yellow taxi medallions, which would ease the budget deficit but anger medallion owners. Bloomberg bypassed the City Council to obtain Governor Cuomo's approval, a move which drew criticism and contributed to the injunction. Without the anticipated revenue, Bloomberg may [lay off city workers and cut city agencies](http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-09-14/news/33848891_1_taxi-plan-budget-cuts-city-budget). The job threat, though, may encourage City Council to move the outer-borough taxi plan forward. The Boro Taxis expected a release in June, and the Taxi of Tomorrow will hit the streets next year. After a three-year phase-in, the Nissan NV200 Taxi will be virtually the only model in the city.
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