The controversial “Taxi of Tomorrow” is finally the new yellow-cab standard for New York City, following years of legal, political, and aesthetic turmoil. After winning a design competition, the minivanesque Nissan NV200 was instituted and championed by the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but citywide adoption of the vehicle faced opposition from taxi officials and current Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as a legal fight, resolved in June, over whether the city could force the upgrade. The New York Times reports that hundreds of NV200s are already patrolling the city, a small fraction of the total yellow-cab fleet, but starting today, most cab owners will be required to switch to the model when retiring their older vehicles (2,500 to 3,000 cabs are replaced each year). Features of the (non-hybrid) NV200 include sliding doors, USB charging stations, ergonomic driver’s seats, and a so-called “low-annoyance horn.”
Meanwhile, Uber, the popular app-enabled ride-hailing service, continues to pick up more and more of the city’s drivers and overall ridership, though the cab industry is hoping to fight back with a greater focus on customer service, as well as with a new ride-hailing app of its own called Arro, which will officially launch in a couple weeks. Unlike Uber, the cab industry’s app won’t require an extra fee or adopt Uber’s notorious surge pricing.