Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Taxi and Limousine Commissioner/Chairman David S. Yassky today unveiled the three finalists to be the new, exclusive New York City taxicab.
The competition, called the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” will introduce the first-ever custom-built taxicab specifically designed for New York City. The Taxi of Tomorrow project includes a public input campaign where New Yorkers can vote of the features they want to see in the next New York City taxicab. The winning vehicle will be the exclusive New York City taxicab for a minimum of ten years and will be chosen from among several competitive proposals. The three designs selected as the finalists to be the Taxi of Tomorrow are submissions from Ford Motor Company, Karsan USA and Nissan North America, Inc.
The three finalists can be viewed at the Taxi of Tomorrow website, located at www.nyc.gov, and New Yorkers can log on to the site to vote on the features they want in taxicabs. Survey participants will also be entered into a contest to win a year’s worth of free taxi rides. The Mayor announced the finalists in the Blue Room of City Hall, where he also was joined by Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, which designed the Taxi of Tomorrow website and the Public Service Announcement; and by Deborah Marton, Executive Director of The Design Trust for Public Space, the sponsor of the free taxi ride contest and a member of the Taxi of Tomorrow Stakeholder Committee.
“The yellow cab is one of the most iconic symbols of New York City,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Taxis have been an important part of our mass transit network for more than a century and we are going to create a new taxi for our City that is safer, greener and more comfortable than the ones we have today. While the City has long set the standards for our taxis – including working to make our vehicles more fuel efficient – the City has never before worked with the auto industry to design one taxicab specifically for New York City, until now. We want New Yorkers to take part in this process and tell us the features they want to see in the Taxi of Tomorrow.”
“There have been many visioning exercises involving forward-thinking designs for futuristic, new taxicabs over the years,” said Commissioner Yassky. “This project marks the first time ever – anywhere – that such an exercise will be backed up by an automotive manufacturer that can turn these concepts into tangible reality and we are making the public a part of the process.”
“This dynamic new campaign is the result of a deep partnership between NYC Media and the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which illustrates the impact of using media and technology and creative spirit to convey City messages,” said Commissioner Oliver. “We are excited to continue working with Commissioner Yassky and his entire team as New Yorkers give their feedback on the features they want to see in the Taxi of Tomorrow.”
“Taxis are the icon of our shared urban landscape, and for more than five years the Design Trust and Taxi and Limousine Commission have enjoyed an enormously productive collaboration to improve that icon, culminating in the Taxi of Tomorrow,” said Design Trust for Public Space Executive Director Deborah Marton. “This project is about much more than getting from point A to point B – the Design Trust and Taxi and Limousine Commission are pioneering an accessible, sustainable, beautiful taxi that New Yorkers deserve. No other city has tried to do this, and we want to make sure every New Yorker has a chance to weigh in and be part of this historic event.”
Starting today, there will be a public service announcement running on the television screens in the back of every City taxicab to let passengers know about the Taxi of Tomorrow project and solicit their input.
The three finalists to be the Taxi of Tomorrow were selected from a larger group of submissions, and concepts were evaluated by the Taxi and Limousine Commission, in cooperation with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and Ricardo, Inc., an international automotive engineering consulting firm. The winning proposal will be announced in early 2011 and the new vehicle will be on the road no later than the fall of 2014. Total fleet turnover will be gradual over several years as older vehicles retire – New York City taxicabs are typically retired after three to five years of service.
The Taxi of Tomorrow project began in 2007 with the formation of a Taxi of Tomorrow Stakeholder Committee, and a Request for Proposals was issued to automotive manufacturers in December 2009. The project seeks to build a taxicab that is safe, fuel-efficient, accessible, durable, and comfortable.
New York City has 13,237 licensed taxicabs, including the world’s largest fleet of fuel efficient taxicabs, with 3,983 hybrid, 5 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), and 17 clean diesel taxi cabs. Today’s taxi fleet is comprised of 16 different vehicles, supported by nine manufacturers.