The Nissan NV200 may not be New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow, after all. A New York State Supreme Court judge ruled this week that the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) had no authority to mandate its drivers purchase an NV200 to replace their taxis, putting the future of the NV200 Taxi’s exclusive contract in jeopardy.
The ruling says it’s the city council’s prerogative, not the TLC’s, to make the policy decision on whether the city should have only one taxicab, The New York Times reports. “It is the province of the City council, rather than the TLC to make a policy decision that New York City should have one taxicab that is a hybrid, clean air and/or an accessible vehicle,” Justice Shlomo S. Hagler of the New York State Supreme Court said in his ruling.
“Simply stated, the power to contract and compel medallion owners to purchase the Nissan NV200 from Nissan for ten years does not exist in the City Charter,” The Wall Street Journal quotes Justice Hagler saying.
The ruling is the latest blow to the Nissan NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow program.
Ever since the TLC’s announcement that the Nissan NV200 Taxi would become the exclusive taxi of New York, legal challenges have chipped away at the Taxi of Tomorrow contract. The original complaints revolved around the fact that taxi drivers and medallion holders had long been allowed to choose from many different vehicles, that the NV200 wasn’t handicap-accessible, and that the NV200 wasn’t a hybrid – a key selling point for taxi drivers with the cost of fuel in the back of their minds.
Nissan has sought to allay those concerns with the Nissan NV200 Taxi, which it developed specifically for NYC roads. Nissan is offering a third-party-converted handicapped version of the Nissan NV200 Taxi, and is even developing a NV200 Taxi Hybrid to help ease hacks’ fuel bills.
The city plans on immediately appealing the decision.
In a statement, Nissan spokesman Travis Parman told us, “We are disappointed in the court’s decision, but it will not prevent our plan to start upgrading the NYC taxi fleet with the Nissan Taxi of Tomorrow at the end of the month.” As for the contract Nissan had with the city, Parman said, “We are evaluating options for next steps regarding the exclusivity contract.”