NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- New York City’s $1 billion plan for a new line of yellow cabs made by Nissan Motor Co. was upheld by the state’s highest court.
The court on Thursday rejected a challenge from fleet operators to the “Taxi of Tomorrow” plan. The city has designated the Nissan NV200 as the official cab and required owners of medallions, which confer the right to operate yellow cabs, to buy the $29,700 vehicles.
“The Nissan NV200 taxi provides a vehicle that is optimal in safety, comfort and convenience for passengers and drivers alike,” said Travis Parman, a Nissan spokesman.
Nissan won a contract in 2011 valued at $1 billion over 10 years to supply thousands of minivans with sliding doors, more luggage space and airbags in the back for the city’s fleet.
The exact number of taxis to be provided is not detailed in Nissan's contract with the city but New York has a fleet of about 13,000 licensed taxis.
The authority given to the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission “allows for the designation of a single vehicle model that was specifically designed -- through a lengthy public process -- to be a taxi,” Judge Leslie Stein wrote in an opinion for the Court of Appeals.
The Nissan vehicle is more tailored to the city’s roads than any prior cab, said Parman. It’s the only taxi to be safety-tested with a partition installed, and its airbags are superior, he said. The cab is wheelchair accessible.
“This is a good outcome that will enable us to expand this use of a modern vehicle, designed with safety, health and comfort in mind,” Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi said in a statement.
Mitchell Berns, an lawyer for fleet operators, didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail message seeking comment on the ruling.